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MIOSHA investigating fatal farm accident

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a fatal accident that took the life of a 18-year-old high school student. The tragic accident occurred on Memorial Day when the student was working in the top of a corn silo.

Michigan State Police report that the young man was inside the silo attempting to dislodge some of the corn that had stuck to the sides of the silo. Another employee who was working outside the silo went to check on the young man but was unable to see him. The other employee then realized that the 18-year-old had likely fallen in and been trapped. An officer with the state police noted that corn in a silo acts much like quicksand.

The other worker attempted to rescue the young man but he was trapped under the weight of the corn and could not be dislodged. Rescue crews arrived abut were similarly unable to safely extricate the young man. It was several hours before his body could be freed from the corn.

While there have undoubtedly been improvements in employee safety on farms, it is still a dangerous occupation. While large machinery has automated many of the heavy chores for agricultural workers this equipment obviously poses its own dangers. There are also still many dangerous tasks, such as clearing corn from the sides of a silo that are still done manually.

MIOSHA has already been present at the farm to investigate the exact cause of the tragedy and determine whether all the proper safety precautions were in place.

Source: WJRT Channel 12 News "High school student killed in farming accident" Terry Camp, May 30, 2011

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