UPDATE: Farmer, Joshua Stuber fell into a grain bin yesterday, June 5 and the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office is saying he lost a leg in the accident. Because of the severity of his injuries, Stuber was airlifted from the scene to OSF St. Francis Medical Center, where he is still in critical condition.
The question people keep asking now, how common are these accidents? What can farmers do to prevent them?
Experts say working around grain bins is extremely hazardous. While there are still a lot of unanswered question about yesterdays accident, the Peoria County Farm Bureau admits farming is one of the most dangerous industries out there. The moving parts and large machinery are highly hazardous and farmers are encouraged to be extra cautious this time of year.
Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. "One second you're doing fine and the next you have a piece of clothing caught in something," Patrick Kirchhoofer the Peoria County Farm Bureau Manager said. "All that horsepower is going to be much stronger than what you are." That was the case for Stuber when he fell into the grain bin.
Chief Deputy of Tazewell County Jeff Lower says, to take precautions. Work cautiously, and hopefully avoid situations, like this, from happening again.
"It's best to have two people in the area or inside the bin. One should have an automatic shut off of the grain augur and if an emergency occurs and that needs to take place," Kirchhofer said. Don't empty the bins while there are people inside.
"Another way to ensure safety is to make sure your communicating at all times," Kirchhofer said. "Tell people what you are doing and when you should be expected back."
Kirchhofer says Illinois actually sees 15 to 20 accidents like this each year, and at least one happens locally. "It's not all the time, but it does happen too much and we wish they wouldn't happen at all."
With the large volume of grain that is stored, grain bins are getting larger. "So that means grain is being moved faster and accidents happen faster than ever, Kirchhofer said. "We can replace machinery, and we can replace parts, but we can not replace human lives."