In 1978, Robert “Chip” Petrea was injured while baling hay near his family’s dairy farm located just outside Iuka, Ill. The injury resulted in double-above the knee amputations for Petrea. Less than a year removed from the amputations, Petrea began to farm again. Today, he serves as a principal researcher for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With a focus on agricultural safety and health, Petrea now helps prevent injuries such as his from happening to others.
On Sept. 17, 2013, Danville firefighters spent the day training for grain-bin rescues. Dave Newcomb, the agriculture rescue program manager for the Illinois Fire Service Institute, taught the intensive, eight-hour training course. The course included sessions on using grain-bin rescue tubes, sawing through grain-bins and evaluating grain hazards.
ByDarrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
As harvest season approaches, rescue workers prepare themselves for the possibility of grain-bin entrapments. On Sept. 17, 2013, the Illinois Fire Service Institute and the Danville Fire Department met at a Bunge Milling facility for grain-bin rescue training. Dave Newcomb, agriculture rescue program manager for the institute, was the main instructor. In this video, he describes what happens during training.
Started in 1982, the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) run by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration exempts selected sites from regular workplace safety reviews. These sites’ safety protocols are thoroughly reviewed before they are accepted into the program. But in Kansas, and elsewhere around the country, workers have died at these VPP sites.
Three Kansas communities with a combined population equal to that of Lawrence are at risk of exposure to a chemical that can be 100 times more lethal than carbon monoxide. The substance is hydrofluoric acid, which is used to make high-octane gasoline, and according to worst-case estimates that oil refiners in El Dorado, McPherson, and Coffeyville have provided to federal regulators, an accidental release could expose more than 92,000 nearby residents to dangerous levels through a toxic cloud. Within range are schools, residences, hospitals, and recreation areas.