The frequency of grain bin engulfment has increased by seven cases/decade since 1964.
More than 60% of grain bin engulfment cases occur in facilities that are exempt from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. That’s mostly family on-farm storage units. Only 30% of engulfment cases come from OSHA non-exempt facilities. Another 9% are of unknown exemption status.
A significant number of those exempt cases involve children and the fatality rate of children involved in grain engulfment is staggering, 70%. More instances and more fatalities occur from engulfment than from grain bin explosions.
A Purdue University study that examined grain bin accidents from 1964 through 2010 found 600 cases of explosions and 250 deaths, a 20% fatality rate. During that same time, engulfment cases totaled 900 with 550 deaths and a 62% fatality rate.