A man is dead after falling into a grain bin near Webster- a town located north of Devils Lake. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office says the victim is an 80-year-old man and the incident happened Wednesday. When authorities got there, they couldn’t find the victim. His body was removed later.
This week, Governor Tim Walz announced a state funding proposal of $250,000 to enhance farm safety measures across the state, Researchers at Purdue University have been tracking these accidents for decades. Minnesota is among the three states with the largest number of cases, along with Iowa and Indiana. Grain bin accidents — which the researchers believe are under-reported by at least 30 percent — can include falls, asphyxiation from toxic fumes and getting caught in machinery.
In Minnesota, 114 of the 193 accidents the researchers have tracked since 1962 involved people getting caught in the grain itself.. Statistics like these partially represent the loved ones lost to preventable farming accidents. These numbers have brought about proposed new funding to help farmers invest in safety measures, like tractor rollover protection and grain bin safety equipment.
A lot of safety measures on the farm are free or low cost. Stay out of bins that have bridged product created by frozen or moldy grain, you can use a pole or other device to work from outside the bin. Always have at least one person to help you when working around grain bins, they can help you or call for help if trouble occurs. Let someone know where you are going to be when you work on grain bins and keep a cell phone with you.
There is safety equipment such as ropes or harnesses which, when used properly, can save your life. Maybe one of the best tools to keep farmers safe is to remember that they are worth more than the value of their work- their existence is not worth risking in a grain bin-family, friends and community all need them to be well and safe.