Confined Space Entrapments Increased in 2022
The headlines in industry publications are startling.
“Confined space entrapments up 40 percent in 2022.”
The headlines point back to a recent study published by Purdue University which revealed there were 83 confined space-related injuries and entrapments in 2022. Of the incidents in 2022, 24 were fatal. One year earlier there were 59 cases. Purdue has been studying these incidents for more than 50 years.
These are not just grain bin entrapments. The data includes injuries resulting from grain dust explosions, falls from or into confined spaces and incidents involving grain transport vehicles.
As one might expect, the bulk of these incidents occurred in agriculturally strong OSHA Regions 5 and 7. These regions include the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
These findings reveal the biggest jump in the last decade. However, it’s important to note, these numbers represent all reported incidents— including family farms. Many other incidents not occurring at commercial operations likely go unreported.
The places we all go to work each day are under governmental restrictions and company guidelines. There are safety teams, an emphasis on training, emergency response plans, lock out/tag out (LOTO) procedures and inherent safety cultures built into the grain industry workday.
GEAPS Member Kingsley Ambrose was one of the authors of the Purdue study. A member of GEAPS’ Hoosier chapter, he’s a professor at Purdue and has been working in the grain space for 15 years.
“We can help create a safer environment,” Ambrose said. “Some people working in the grain environment still do not know dust explodes. Accidents can happen. Nothing is 100 percent safe. Start by keeping your facility clean and make sure your equipment is in good working order.”
Being a part of GEAPS comes with many opportunities to increase safety. We hope you have taken advantage of many, if not all of them. If not, here’s a review.
GEAPS offers several safety courses which can be found online at geaps.com/training. As a member, you may take these courses at a discounted rate.
GEAPS safety courses include:
GEAPS has several events, speakers and exhibitors who can help all of us work smarter and safer. An annual favorite, the Grain Entrapment Rescue Demo on the Expo floor is a great opportunity to learn how to help someone trapped in a bin—and how to avoid it all together.
If you are just walking the Expo floor at Exchange, you’re not getting the most out of the experience. GEAPS’ Exchange Educational Programming Committee regularly plans 45 hours of educational content—many sessions focused on safety.
Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week is planned and funded by the Alliance, a collaboration of agricultural industry groups. The Alliance, an OSHA Cooperative Program, is comprised of GEAPS, Grain Handling Safety Council and National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA). Look for this event at the end of March 2024.
One of our newest offerings, GEAPS’ Safety Star Program celebrates those among us who help keep us all safe, in ways big and seemingly small. View more information on the Safety Star Program.
This program recognizes facilities that go an entire year without a work related lost time injury or illness. Facilities are recognized with the Elite Tier Safety Award for going the entire year without a recordable workplace injury or illness.
Find our podcast on Apple Podcast—or wherever you find your podcasts—to listen to industry insiders as they discuss a variety of topics, including safety.
GEAPS regularly presents webinars on a variety of topics of interest to those in our industry. See our website for information about what we have coming up. Remember, members may access past webinars at any time in GEAPS Video Library.
Your GEAPS chapter is your “home team.” Connect with others in your chapter. Attend events or get involved and help plan trainings and events most useful to you. View our Calendar of Events.