Investigating Grain Elevator Deaths

A joint investigative series that aired this week examines the practice of sending workers into grain bins to dislodge grain that is wet or clumped. A series, reported by PWF grantees National Public Radio and Center for Public Integrity, along with the Kansas City Star, shows that “In the last four decades, more than 660 people have died because of the quicksand effect of grain.  According to the joint investigation, another 300 people were trapped in grain but survived. Additionally, twenty percent of the 946 people caught in grain were under the age of 18.”

Making matters worse, the investigation found that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reduced fines against some culpable employers by about 60%.

• Special Series Page: Buried in Grain (which includes audio links as well as a database of reports, fines, and how much fines got slashed)

• (part 1) Fines Slashed In Grain Bin Entrapment Deaths (with audio from All Things Considered)

• (part 2) Enforcement of Penalties Weak in Grain Deaths (with audio from Morning Edition)

• (part 3) Simple Strategies Can Prevent Grain Bin Tragedies (with audio from All Things Considered)

• (part 4) Why Grain Storage Bin Rescues Are Risky and Complex (with audio from Morning Edition)

Center for Public Integrity

• Worker suffocations persist as grain storage soars, employers flout safety rules

• Rethinking OSHA exemption for farms

PBS NewsHour

• Death of 14-Year-Old Worker Due to Dangerous Conditions in Grain Storage Bins


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