Plot out the number of grain bin incidents by state from 1964 to 2012 compared to the number of farms with grain storage capacity, and Indiana easily has more reported cases than any other state. Iowa is a distant second, with Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska following the lead pack.
Though Indiana leads the way, Bill Field, Purdue University Extension farm safety specialist, believes the data may be skewed. One factor is that Purdue prepared the report, and has worked hard to monitor grain bin incidents within Indiana. The second reason is that over the past three years, Purdue has targeted grain bin entrapment rescue training with over 60 programs, training nearly 3,000 people. The increased awareness has helped bring in more reports of incidents.
Field contends that Iowa and Illinois probably have many incidents that simply aren't reported. There is no national or even state requirement to report these incidents.
"Everyone asks why we have so many grain bin entrapments in Indiana," Field says. "It's not because we aren't training people. I believe it's because all the publicity we've put toward the topic has helped us find out about more incidents than in states where training is not occurring to this extent."
That said, Field says it's still important to continue focusing on training for grain bin incidents – trying to prevent them, and also trying to train first responders so they will know what to do and not do once they arrive on the scene. The Indiana Rural Safety and Health Council had three different safety displays in three locations at the recent Indiana State Fair. All three focused on grain bin safety.
Latest efforts include a class to 'train the trainers,' so others can give training classes besides Purdue Personnel.
Another effort is a new class for young part or full time farm workers. That event is a one-day affair offered at three locations, beginning next week, Sept. 30. Other dates for the training are Oct. 2 and Oct. 16. Visit www.farmsafety.org.