We organize and share information to prevent hazards associated with ag confined spaces.
The website (www.agconfinedspaces.org) was developed by Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program. It provides an archive for the annual summaries of injuries and fatalities associated with agricultural confined spaces and provides access to resources for those conducting safety and health training related to agricultural confined spaces. The site originally focused on grain storage and handling hazards, but has been expanded to address other types of confined spaces found in agricultural workplaces. In 2014, the site was redesigned, expanded, and promoted nationally, with support from a Susan Harwood Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Additional revisions were made in 2022 to expand the Frequently Asked Questions section, adding a glossary of terms, and make other updates. Your assistance in providing information on injuries or fatalities involving agricultural confined spaces, or new resources, would be greatly appreciated.
Since the 1970’s, Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program (PUASHP) has been documenting and investigating injuries and fatalities involving grain storage and handling facilities at both commercial and on-farm locations. In 2014, with support from the U.S. Department of Labor, the effort was expanded to include incidents involving grain transport vehicles; injuries occurring inside of confined spaces due to exposure to toxic environments, powered mechanical components, such as augers; and, falls in and around confined spaces. In addition, information was included on incidents involving other types of agricultural confined spaces including forage storage tower silos, bunk silos, liquid storage tanks, and manure storage facilities and equipment. Data documented from these incidents have been coded and stored in the Purdue Agricultural Confined Space Incident Database (PACSID), and summarized annually.
The findings have been clear, the hazards associated with agricultural confined spaces have historically been, and continue to be, a significant threat to agricultural workers. This threat has been well documented by Field, (1979); Schwab, (1985); Kingman (2001 and 2003); Beaver, (2007); Roberts, (2010); Riedel, (2013); Issa, (2013 and 2014); Cheng, (2016); and Nour, (2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022). Each year incidents involving confined spaces found in agricultural workplaces are directly impacting the lives of hundreds of workers and their families. Of special concern is that approximately one out of five victims are children or young and beginning workers. PUASHP will continue to give attention to this problem in order to encourage the adoption of needed prevention measures.