Wet weather increases workers' risk

Wet weather increases workers' risk

CHAMPAIGN -- Last spring's wet weather could make this growing season more dangerous for farmers. 
CHAMPAIGN -- Last spring's wet weather could make this growing season more dangerous for farmers. The rainy spring means workers need to make sure their grain stays dry. That means heading into grain bins. WCIA-3's Jessica Shaw finds out just how risky that is.

Wednesday's fatal grain bin accident shows just how dangerous this line of work is. That's why experts at UI Extension warn farmers to be extra careful.

Last year's drought wreaked havoc on crops. It meant fewer farmers were out in the fields.

"They're not being in the grain bin as much. They're not int he field harvesting as much grain. They're not on the roadway as much."

That had an unexpected upside; an all-time low in farm-related deaths in Illinois.

"It dramatically reduces the exposure to these risks and cuts down the accidents that we had."

But, this wet spring could mean otherwise. Wet weather means wet grain. To keep it from clumping and rotting, crews need to stir grain bins. It means heading inside where one slip can be deadly.

It already happened in Sidney when Roy McCarty fell in, became trapped and died.

"Roy's going to be missed. He's a fantastic person."

"What happens is, the grain comes down around the person, it engulfs them and presses on their chest, so when they take a deep breath, they can't get air in."

It's why the UI Extension is asking farmers to take care and not push themselves to the limit.

"You become physically fatigued, you're not as mentally alert as you usually are and that's when you make mistakes that result in accidents."

UI said last year, one person was killed in a grain bin accident in Illinois. The annual average 5 or 6.

Unfortunately, grain bin deaths are not uncommon. In 2010, at least 26 workers in the country were killed. In the past 50-years, 900 people have been trapped. More than half have died.
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