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Remembering Dwayne - 10 Years Later

Nov 12, 2019

Roberta's Request

On the morning of November 12, 2009, the Garden City Co-op lost one of our own, Dwayne Seifried in a grain entrapment fatality in the Amy elevator near Dighton, Kansas.  

Dwayne was not a reckless type of employee.  He was careful.  Meticulous.  His widow, Roberta, said he was a "Hard A" but bashfully said she couldn't complete the rest of that word.  He was chairman of the newly-created safety committee.  He took pride in his perfectionism.  His son Shannon remarked that one grain inspector told him that "you could drag a steak from one end of the elevator to the other and I'd eat it" because the facility was that clean. 

Therein lies one dangerous part of the equation.  While younger employees typically feel invincible doing dangerous tasks, there is an older group who have become accustomed to their jobs and have gotten comfortable.  They've performed a task a certain way so many times and it has never failed them...yet.  "They tend to disregard some of the things that they know are very important," says former General Manager John McClelland, but as Dwayne's son Shannon says "just because it hasn't happened to us doesn't mean that potential has gone away.  And sooner or later it may not be the big thing that gets you but if you have enough of the little things that line up just right it can still happen."  

When John asked Roberta if there was anything he could do, she replied, "do whatever you can to make sure this doesn't happen again."

This video was a piece of that response effort that is now a part of new employee training.  It has also been used in countless other lectures and demonstrations across the United States as well as internationally, in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of grain bin entry safety and agriculture safety in general.  

The nature of a lot of the work in a grain elevator environment is one of isolation; a couple employees in an elevator surrounded by nothing but fields for miles.  Many times, we are too proud to ask for help even if we feel like we might need it, but this is how situations can so often turn deadly.  Unfortunately, it is what cost Dwayne his life.  

Part of our change in our procedures is we now have increased the number of eyeballs required for entry into a bin.  Bringing in somebody else that is not from that location on a day-to-day basis can bring a fresh perspective to dangers that others may not be seeing.  

The most important thing is, in the busy-ness of your daily tasks, resist the urge to take shortcuts.  Slow down and observe the safety rules and regulations.  "They are there for a purpose," says Roberta.  "Abide by them, because they someday could save your life."  

Please feel free to share the following video with your connections in the ag community as ag/grain safety will always be a need!  



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