MISSOURI   There were 12 grain dusts explosions last year resulting in one death and four injuries. The explosions occurred in 2 feed mills, 2 ethanol plants, and 8 grain elevators. The causes were identified in 3 cases as hot bearings and sparks, and 9 were undetermined. Dust explosions occurred in 9 different states. There were two in Illinois and Iowa and one in Kansas.

In 2010, 51 workers were engulfed by grain stored in bins, and 26 died-the highest number on record, according to a report issued by Purdue University.

Brett Sullivan worked at several grain facilities in the Midwest over 15 years up until he was seriously injured on the job. Sullivan was driving a piece of loud equipment and was struck by a train.

Sullivan said grain can also be very explosive and given the right environment can cost you your life.

Grain dust explosions are very powerful and can level whole buildings.  Over the last 35 years, there have been over 500 explosions in grain handling facilities across the United States. They have killed more than 180 people and injured more than 675. Grain dust is the main source of fuel for explosions in grain handling.

Grain facility hazards include fire, explosions, grain bin entrapment, falls and amputation. Suffocation is the leading cause of death at grain storage bins. In 2010, 51 workers were engulfed by grain stored in bins, and 26 died-the highest number on record, according to a report issued by Purdue University.

Along with serious bodily injury from combustion and workers trying to go in and break up wet grain, there are a number of serious injury causes at a grain facility.

In 2010, 51 workers were swallowed up by grain stored in bins, and 26 died-the highest number on record, according to Purdue University. Workers suffocated in the grain is the leading cause of death at grain elevators.

Moving grain acts like “quicksand” and can bury a worker in seconds. “Bridged” grain and vertical piles of stored grain can become crusted and then gave Sullivan said.

Falls from atop the bins have also been reported. They occur as workers move from the vertical exterior ladders on grain bins.

When wet grain clumps up in the bins and people are working to loosen the grain,  the potential for entanglement and amputation rises. Sullivan said the leading cause to grain elevator injuries is the fact that workers get comfortable around the dangers and let their guard down.

In an effort to curb grain elevator injuries the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) came up with “Stand-up for Grain Engulfment Prevention Awareness Week” in April.

Exposure to fumigants at grain facilities can also cause permanent central nervous system damage, heart and vascular disease, and lung edema as well as cancer.