Grain bin accidents are one of the deadliest incidents that could happen during grain handling and processing. According to studies, six out of ten workers who fall victim to grain bin accidents don’t survive.
It’s one thing to hear about grain bin accidents and how dangerous they are; it’s a specter that could hover over an agricultural workplace. But somehow, such accidents are so much more real when you learn of the experience from someone who’d survived it.
Arick Baker’s Experience
In a story that made news even to mainstream outlets, Arick Baker has recounted the harrowing experience of being buried alive in a grain bin. He had been warned by his father, even as a child, that “if you go down in the corn, you don’t come out.”
Baker was standing in the 60,000-bushel grain bin trying to break up chunks of rotten corn that were impeding the flow of the grain. He was using a PVC pipe to do it and, fortunately, wearing an oxygen mask. As Baker’s father left him on his own, the corn gave way beneath Baker, and he fell into an air pocket in the corn that was now rapidly filling, threatening to drown him. Only his fingers were sticking out in the grain.
He was unable to move from the weight of the corn, and he explains that it felt like he was being squeezed from the pressure all over his body, as though thousands of snakes were strangling him. Baker was stuck in the corn for a harrowing three to four hours before someone noticed he was missing in the grain bin, and Iowa Falls Volunteer Fire Department came in. At first, they couldn’t even find him until they heard him yelling beneath the grain, with the oxygen mask slowly running out of batteries. And then they started digging.
The grain shifted five times and avalanched back down before the fire department brought the grain bin rescue tube. It turned out to be a life-saving device as it was key to finally getting Baker free. The firefighters used it as a protection against the avalanching grain while getting Baker out of the corn.
It took a few more hours of digging before Baker finally was freed, his heart pushed to the limit, and corn being surgically removed from being embedded into his skin. It was a near-death experience that no one will ever forget.
And for people who work in agriculture, it’s a cautionary tale of the dangerous risks of handling grain.
Grain bin tubes and other life-saving devices are critical when working with any kind of grain in the grain bins. Visit KC Supply and learn more about them.