Fatal Accident Circumstances and Epidemiology (FACE) Report: Farm Worker Asphyxiated in Grain Silo in Indiana


A 52 year old farm worker entered an oxygen limiting silo through the top opening and was asphyxiated. He was employed on a privately owned farm with one full time and one part time worker. The farm had no written safety program with safety matters being left up to the individual workers. The owner of the farm and his full time employee were filling an 80 foot high silo with alfalfa silage. In the afternoon the owner told his worker that he was leaving for a while but would return later. hen the owner was gone, the victim was to clean up the silage around the silo being filled and put away the equipment. The part time employee arrived an hour later, but could not find anyone around. He went to get help, and on returning noticed a 10 foot ladder located under the ladder permanently attached to a silo filled the day before. The father of the part time employee found the victim in the silo, lying about 10 feet from the opening. According to the coroner's report, the victim was probably overcome by nitrous-oxide (10102439) fumes, fell into the silo, and suffocated as a result of aspiration of plant material. There was a significant degree of conflict between the coroner's report and the probable sequence of events and it was recommended that personnel evaluating this accident should rethink their conclusions. It was also recommended that comprehensive policies and procedures be developed by the employer for confirmed space entry.


SOURCE: Morgantown, West Virginia: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; 1987. 5.


This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

We are unable to supply copies of the full report cited in this entry. Readers are advised to use the following sources:

  • Author or publisher: articles are frequently available from the author or publisher.
  • Medical or other research libraries: these facilities often have the material on hand or know where it can be obtained. If available, each journal entry includes the appropriate National Library of Medicine unique identification number to aid in interlibrary loan requests.
  • Government: some U.S. Government-sponsored research reports, including ones out-of print, are available from the National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More