OSHA, grain industry leaders say small changes have big impacts
WASHINGTON, DC ‒ Today, six of every 10 workers trapped in a grain bin don’t make it out alive. This is a frightening reality, but one that the nation’s 8,378 off-farm grain storage facilities’ operators can change by following common sense approaches that truly may be the difference between life and death.
How to make these changes will be the focus of the 5th annual Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week, from March 29 through April 2, 2021. The event is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society and the National Grain and Feed Association.
“Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week will bring industry professionals together to focus on how small changes can eliminate dangerous hazards that can cause great harm to their employees,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. “This important collaboration will strengthen our coalition of agribusiness and safety professionals, and reinforce our shared commitment to safety and training.”
Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week includes a comprehensive kick-off event on Monday, March 29, with live safety demonstrations and success stories. The Grain Handling Safety Coalition’s free virtual webinars during the week will focus on near miss reporting, the impact of quality on safety, bin safety and developing emergency action plans. Register for webinars here.
To explain how industry employers can participate in Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week, the coalition has developed a video safety message. View it and learn how small changes can have a big impact on grain-handling safety.
The alliance has identified seven critical steps for grain safety:
‒ Turn off/lockout equipment before entering a bin or performing maintenance.
‒ Never walk down grain to make it flow.
‒ Test the air in the bin before entering.
‒ Use a safety harness and anchored lifeline.
‒ Place a trained observer outside of the bin in case of an emergency.
‒ Do not enter a bin where grain is built up on the side.
‒ Control the accumulation of grain dust through housekeeping.
Alliance members will be providing information to the agribusiness community and the public through newsletters, emails and placement of information on the Stand Up webpage and social media using the hashtag #StandUp4GrainSafety.
OSHA held the first Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week in 2017 and the event continues to grow as the organizations combine their talents, resources and knowledge to develop more training and educational offerings, expand partnerships with other industry organizations, and reach across the entire grain industry spectrum.
OSHA’s Grain Handling Safety Standards focus on the grain and feed industry’s six major hazards: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, “struck by,” combustible dust explosions and electrocution hazard. Learn more about OSHA and agriculture industry safety resources.