December 02, 2023

Report shows increase in fatalities, injuries in ag confined spaces

Need for effective management, training

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — There was a 40.7% increase in the number of reported cases involving agricultural confined spaces last year, according to the 2022 Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities report.

The report was released by the Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

“In the summary, an issue we try to point out is the role of out-of-condition grain in grain entrapments,” said Edward Sheldon, research associate at the Agricultural Safety and Health Program.

“Many entrapments result from someone entering a bin or structure to break loose clumped, spoiled grain. Keep the grain in good condition to eliminate the need to enter the bin.”

The summary reported 83 cases involving agricultural confined spaces — 24 fatal and 59 nonfatal — in 2022. That’s up 40.7% over the 59 cases in 2021.

The report’s authors explain that there are limitations in data collection as not every case may be reported. As a result, these numbers are approximate.

In addition, of the total number of confinement cases, 42 grain-related entrapments represented a 44.8% increase over 2021.

This was the highest number of reported grain entrapments in over a decade. Grain entrapments are the most common type of agricultural confined space incident.

“We strongly encourage farmers and agribusiness employers to recognize the hazards presented by confined spaces such as grain bins, silos and manure storage facilities and use best management practices and effective training programs to keep their families and employees safe,” Sheldon said.

He urged farmers and agribusinesses to utilize educational resources such as Gearing Up for Safety. Learn more at

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor