Grain entrapment occurs when a person(s) becomes partially buried or completely covered in free flowing grain and is unable to self-extricate without assistance. Grain entrapments have occurred in all types of free flowing agricultural crops including corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, sunflower seeds, and oats. Most documented cases have involved corn in on-farm storage
bins. In addition, entrapments have occurred in processed agricultural crops such as livestock feed and cotton seeds.
Purdue University estimates that approximately 15-20 flowing grain-related suffocations occur each year in the U.S., along with numerous other undocumented partial entrapments. The record year was 2010 when 59 fatal incidents were documented, or approximately one each week. Most entrapments occur in the Midwest Corn Belt, but have been documented in more than 20 states and several Canadian provinces.
For more detailed information about grain entrapments in the U.S., download Purdue University's "Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities" at the bottom of this page.
Attempting to remove a grain entrapment victim by "pulling" with a rope or harness will result in serious injury! The Liberty Rescue Tube was developed to allow removal of grain from around a partially entrapped victim, providing rescuers the ability to safety remove the person.
A person caught in flowing grain may be buried too deep to escape on their own within 15 seconds. In 30 seconds, the person may be completely submerged! Flowing grain is a danger to first responders and rescue personnel!
Purdue University develops an annual report of agricultural confined space related incidents, including grain entrapments. Click below to download the 2018 Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities.