Arm Entanglement in a Grain Auger

Posted by robyn

On a rural farm in Minnesota, a man caught his arm in a grain auger. Unfortunately, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence on a farm. Recently, researchers decided to explore the statistics of grain auger injuries.  This machine is one of the most dangerous equipment found on the farm.

About a Grain Auger

grain augerA grain auger is a long tube used to raise and transport grain from the ground to the top of grain bins, load trucks from the grain bin or carry feed from a wagon to cattle feeders on a farm. It has a long, screw-shaped shank driven by a pulley or gear at the top. As the shank turns, the grain moves upwards in the tube. Unfortunately, however, it sometimes takes operators’ arms, legs, and scalps with it. This is because manufacturers often fail to include safety features such as shields and intake screens that would reduce the opportunity to become wound up into the rapidly turning machinery.

Dangers of a Grain Auger

On a per-hour-of-use basis, augers are one of the most dangerous machines for farm use. Researchers found that 60% of grain auger injuries came from the auger’s flighting. The flighting is a rotating screw blade that helps remove any drilled out material.  In all cases, 65% involved an injury to fingers, hands or arms.

This included loss of limbs and broken bones. A loss of limb happens when the operator or farm worker encounters the exposed screw, the auger’s shaft can cause entanglement. This often results in a loss of hands, arms or scalp, especially when the operator is wearing a hat or has long hair. Also, the flighting is extremely sharp. When rotating to draw grain up, it can spit material out or pull the operator toward the machinery causing severe lacerations, cuts and broken bones.

When an auger injures a farmer, the cost and days out of work are three times higher than other equipment.

Manufacturer’s Responsibility

farmersImproper shielding of the auger is one reason so many accidents occur. Also, the shield is not enough to prevent injury. This means that it could be the manufacturer’s fault an injury occurred.  They designed equipment that was unsafe and has a legal responsibility to ensure their products are safe. Too often companies put profits before safety, and machinery injures workers.

Holding the manufacturers and sellers of defective farm equipment accountable not only helps the person injured, but also helps deter the manufacturer from continuing to use defective products. Many successful defective product lawsuits result in recalls of the defective product, which prevents injuries to others and dissuades the manufacturer from cutting corners in the future.

Defective farm equipment design could have caused your injury from a farming accident. That means: You are not at fault, and you deserve compensation!  Depending on the case, a variety of parties may be held responsible for defective farm equipment injuries, which may include companies that design, sell, lease, or furnish equipment to farmers.         

Manufacturers who design and distribute unsafe machinery should pay you for losses you suffer due to using their products. Contact the Farm Injury Resource Center for a free, confidential consultation.