A study conducted by Purdue University's Agricultural Safety and Health Program reported fatal and non-fatal grain entrapments dropped significantly to 27 cases in 2011.
Grain entrapment cases were down 47 percent compared to the year before, a major drop that has been attributed to greater enforcement and outreach from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In 2010, the annual study found that there were a record high 51 entrapments, which led to 26 fatalities.
Purdue experts say the decline comes amid OSHA's tougher stance on grain entrapment and improved quality of stored grain, factors which have helped raise awareness and reduce the dangers of entrapment.
"OSHA has made a significant commitment through the Susan Harwood Grant program to support projects to develop new teaching strategies and resources designed to reduce the frequency and severity of flowing grain related incidents," the report noted.
According to OSHA, falls from height are a common hazard found in grain storage facilities that can result in grain entrapments. Protect workers from this hazard by providing appropriate fall protection systems in grain handling operations.