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Grain bin safety highlighted this week

'Nominate Your Fire Department' contest opens during 10th annual Grain Bin Safety week.

Photo courtesy of KC Supply Co. Inc.
Photo courtesy of KC Supply Co. Inc.

Grain bins serve a critical role in agriculture, providing secure storage and protection for large quantities of grain before it’s sold or processed. These structures, however, also pose very serious and threatening dangers to workers if proper safety procedures aren’t followed when working in or around them.

To help raise awareness of these dangers and prevent tragic deaths in grain structures, Nationwide has opened its annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest in recognition of Grain Bin Safety Week.

Facts: Injuries and fatalities from grain bins

  • In four seconds, an adult can sink knee-deep in flowing grain and be rendered unable to free themselves without assistance. In just 20 seconds, an adult can be fully engulfed.
  • Suffocation from engulfment or oxygen-deficient atmospheres is the leading cause of death in grain accidents.
  • In 2021, at least 29 grain entrapments were reported, resulting in 11 fatalities.
  • More than 300 grain entrapments have been recorded in the past decade. It’s estimated an additional 30% of cases go unreported.

“Every year, grain bin accidents lead to countless injuries or deaths and it is everyone’s responsibility to take proactive measures to prevent these tragedies from happening,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide.

“For a decade, Nationwide has been a leader in the fight to correct this industry issue, and while we’re incredibly proud of the efforts and the many partners who’ve made them possible, there is more work to be done.”

10 years of Grain Bin Safety Week

Nationwide initiated its annual Grain Bin Safety campaign in 2014 to raise awareness of the dangers of working in grain bins and promote a zero-entry mentality. Grain Bin Safety Week, which takes place February 19-25, 2023, brings a national spotlight to the issue each year.

A key component of Grain Bin Safety Week is the annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest, which aims to supply fire departments across rural America with the specialized rescue training and equipment needed to respond if an entrapment occurs.

The Nominate Your Fire Department Contest is now open until April 30, 2023. Learn how to nominate your local fire department here.

Fire departments are critical partners in grain bin safety

Since 2014, Nationwide and partners have awarded 272 grain rescue tubes to first responders across 31 states – eclipsing more than $1 million in resources provided. At least six successful rescues have utilized these resources, including a recent rescue in Sussex County, Delaware.

Nationwide collaborates each year with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) to deliver the rescue equipment and provide safety training. NECAS instructors travel to training locations with state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulators, which are loaded onto 20-foot trailers and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain each. The comprehensive training sessions include classroom education and rescue simulations.

“Rural fire departments are often the only line of defense when an entrapment takes place in their region and time is of the essence when responding to these accidents,” said Dan Neenan, director at NECAS.

“It’s critically important to ensure these first responders not only have the specialized rescue equipment, but also the training needed to respond effectively.”

For more information about the program, nomination process or how you can get involved, visit

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