BETHEL TOWNSHIP FIRE DEPARTMENT
Bethel Township firefighters try to save Warren Mumma. The Clark County farmer had tried to install a secondary augur in his grain bin on Tuesday.
It was with a heavy heart that Professor Dee Jepsen heard about the 68-year-old man who died on Tuesday after the corn collapsed on top of him in the grain bin on his Clark County farm.
Rescuers tried to get to Warren Mumma in time. They even brought up specialized equipment from nearby Wright Patterson Air Force Base after the 911 call from Mumma’s farm on Lower Valley Pike, west of Springfield, was placed just after 4 p.m.
Mumma’s body was recovered from the bin a few hours later. Clark County deputy sheriffs said he had entered the grain bin to install a secondary auger. A main auger already was running. The corn shifted, trapping him.
A son driving the truck while they were offloading the grain called 911, said Chief Jacob King of the Bethel Township Fire Department, which responded. King said Mumma was not wearing a safety harness.
Such incidents are tragedies, and those who work in agriculture try to do what they can to prevent them, said Jepsen, an assistant professor with Ohio State University’s agricultural safety and health program.
Ohio State compiled statistics that show that 14 people were killed as a result of grain handling or storage in Ohio between 2001 and 2010. And the university just rolled out a new training cart that’s being housed at and used by the Ohio Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg to train first-responders to deal with grain-storage entrapments.
The cart also is being used to remind farmers of proper safety, Jepsen said.
“Farmers work so hard and they’re very busy,” she said. “Sometimes, safety can take a back seat.”
Earlier this month, the Ohio Farm Bureau office that serves Brown County in southwestern Ohio trained first-responders on how to use that county’s two new trailers, which are equipped with special tubes to be used in grain-bin rescues.
The trailer’s tube is inserted into the grain to relieve the pressure on the person who is trapped, buying time for rescuers.
A fundraising campaign paid for the two trailers, which cost as much as $20,000 each, said Heather Utter, director of the Farm Bureau office for Adams, Brown, Clermont and Highland counties.
A 2011 report issued by Purdue University showed that grain-bin entrapments and deaths were on the rise. The report said that in 2010, 51 grain entrapments were reported nationally, with 26 fatalities.
Utter said it’s an issue that doesn’t get enough attention.
“We are such an agricultural state that we have to make sure we’r e focusing on the best safety practices that we can,” she said.
For information on OSU’s new agricultural training cart visit www.agsafety.osu.edu/grain-cart.
Source: Columbus Dispatch