Even with ongoing awareness campaigns, the number of grain elevator accidents continues to rise in the United States. As part of a grain handling facility, the elevator is a building used for storing grain as well as the equipment required to move grain into and out of delivery trucks. Although it’s a necessity for corn, oats, wheat, sunflower seeds, barley, soybeans, and other grains, working in this type of elevator poses serious risks.
Unfortunately, grain elevator injuries and deaths result from various hazards, including explosions and fire from the accumulation of grain dust, falls from significant heights, amputations and crushing injuries, and suffocation caused by entrapment or engulfment. Of those, the latter is the most significant risk.
Workers get buried in grain, which acts much like quicksand due to the stored product collapsing. This can happen when grain shifts when walked on or as workers attempt to clear a buildup inside the elevator. With substantial risks, OSHA sent more than 10,000 notification letters to grain elevator operators advising them to take all necessary precautions and wear the proper equipment before going inside.
Proving Your Case
Even with this extensive knowledge, grain elevator injuries still occur. If you’re hurt on the job, it is imperative to seek legal advice from an attorney who specializes in personal injury law. Whether you’re burned because of a grain dust explosion or fire, have broken bones from a fall, or have experienced becoming entrapped temporarily, you need a qualified attorney in your corner. Your attorney and officials from OSHA will investigate the incident.
Typically, grain elevator operators follow strict government rules and regulations. However, sometimes, accidents occur due to negligence, whether it’s on the part of the grain facility or a manufacturer of equipment or machinery used at the site. Some examples include:
- Burn Injury – Caused by an overheated motor that the grain handling facility failed to have inspected or one with a manufacturer defect
- Fall Injury – Due to an unguarded hole or catwalk, damaged platform, or some other unsafe surface inside or outside of the grain elevator
- Amputation or Severe Limb Injury – Caused by unprotected moving parts on mechanical equipment
- Lung Injury – Due to exposure to dangerous levels of airborne contaminants and the facility failing to provide the operator with an appropriate safety breathing apparatus
Fighting for Compensation
Your attorney will try to settle with the grain handling facility and its insurance company, but if you don’t reach an agreement, you can file a lawsuit. Either way, your lawyer will fight on your behalf for reasonable compensation. Whether you’re taking the facility or a manufacturer to court, all relevant documentation gets presented, including OSHA warnings, failed inspections, witness statements, photographs, doctors’ reports, medical bills, and more.
Your attorney will prove that you took all appropriate safety measures and followed every guideline. With evidence in hand, there is an excellent chance of showing that either the grain handling facility or a manufacturer is at fault for the injuries you sustained. In addition to compensation for what you already endured, your attorney will likely fight for pain and suffering. After all, you have no way of knowing the long-term effects of the grain elevator accident.