There have been more reported cases of grain entrapments nationwide in the first 10 months of this year than in any year since 1978, according to Purdue University Extension farm safety specialist Bill Field.

According to the 2010 "Year-to-Date Summary of Grain Entrapments in the United States," at least 46 entrapments have occurred this year, eclipsing the previous record of 42 cases for all of 1993. Of the 46 entrapments, 25 have been fatal. Thirty-three have occurred on farms and 13 at commercial grain facilities.

"There is a close relationship between out-of-condition grain and the increased probability of engulfment incidents,” Field said. States with the most documented grain entrapments so far this year are Illinois with 10, Minnesota with eight, Iowa with five and Wisconsin with five.

People can become caught or trapped in grain in three different ways: the collapse of bridged grain, the collapse of a vertical wall of grain, and entrapment in flowing grain according to a  North Dakota State University grain handling safety bulletin. Moving or flowing grain is involved in all three.

People who work with grain -- loading it, unloading it, and moving it from bin to bin -- need to know about the hazards of flowing grain and how to prevent a grain entrapment situation.

Read more on how grain entrapment occurs and safety procedures for accident prevention.

Source: Purdue University, North Dakota State University