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Grain bins pose serious risks to OH farm workers

Workplace accidents happen all the time. While we often think of these accidents as happening in construction or industrial work, they can happen in any profession. The dangers posed by a workplace accident are many and severe. Workers can be seriously injured, receive a permanent disability, or be killed. Awareness is now being raised about the dangers faced by farm workers.

According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, farm workers operating in grain bins face extreme danger of workplace injuries and death. The dangers include becoming engulfed by grain, being exposed to harmful atmospheres, falling, and getting trapped by moving equipment. In 2010, at least 26 farm workers were killed when they were engulfed by grain. This year in Ohio, three workers have died from grain bin-related accidents.

In an attempt to alleviate the dangers of working in a grain silo, the BWC has put forth safety measures that include preventing walk downs to make grain flow, training workers on the hazards posed by grain bins, testing the air inside of silos for oxygen levels, and stationing a spotter who can perform rescue operations when necessary.

While additional safety measures may help reduce the number of accidents, these instances will, unfortunately, continue to occur. A worker who suffers physical impairment or other injuries from a workplace accident should be taken care of by workers' compensation. However, sometimes these workers are denied their disability benefits and are unfairly left to fend for themselves.

If an individual's workers' compensation claim is denied, it would be in his best interest to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney. If the attorney and the worker feel the denial was wrong they can take the dispute to court. There, an attorney will fight to prove the incident was a true accident that occurred while within the scope of employment and the worker's injuries resulted from that accident. Then, if the case succeeds, the worker may obtain compensation for his medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: EHS Today, "Ohio Workers' Comp Bureau Warns of Grain Bin Dangers," Sandy Smith, Aug. 14, 2013

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