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17 Year Old Killed in Grain Bin

Seventeen year old Cody Rigsby of Kiowa County Colorado was killed when he was buried under several feet of grain in a grain elevator facility. As usual, news reports describe the incident as a “mishap” or “accident” but none question whether the employer, Temple Grain Elevator, had followed proper safety procedures to ensure that its employees, including a teenager, were protected from the well-known hazards associated with this work.

A report from the University of Arkansas entitled Suffocation Hazards in Grain Bins describes the serious nature of this hazard:

“Unfortunately, managers or workers may not understand or place enough emphasis on flowing grain hazards, considering that a person can be completely covered with grain in less than one minute.”

The report describes how suffocation can occur, in fact, in as little as 11 seconds.

Did Temple Grain take this information into account? Was this young man informed of the hazards and properly trained to avoid them? We await the report from OSHA’s investigation for more information.