OSHA and its Alliance partner, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), in cooperation with the Grain Elevator and Processing Society, will hold Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week, March 25-29, 2019. The event will focus on grain bin entry, machine guarding, respiratory protection, falls, heat, lockout/tagout, and other industry issues. Employers and workers are encouraged to participate in local stand-up events.
Grain handling and storage is a key safety issue for the grain, feed, and processing industries. Increased storage capacities combined with larger, faster handling and automated equipment contribute to the safety and health hazards.
Suffocation from engulfment is a leading cause of death in grain bins, and the number of these deaths continues to rise. In fact, the number of deaths more than doubled between 2006 and 2010.
During the week of June 6, 2011, three workers, one each in Iowa, Michigan and North Dakota, were killed when they were engulfed (buried or trapped) by grain while on the job. In Texas, a fourth worker was also buried in grain, but was rescued and survived. In another 2011 incident, three workers in a grain bin in Illinois were killed when the grain engulfed and suffocated them
These fatalities are preventable if employers follow work practices and provide training and equipment as required by OSHA's Grain Handling Facilities standard, 29 CFR 1910.272.
There are numerous OSHA- and industry-developed resources available to assist in preventing future incidents. Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week is a way of reaching out to employers and workers to get them involved in improving worker protection, reducing injuries, and preventing fatalities from engulfment. Check out "What is a Safety Stand-Up" for more information.
A Safety Stand-Up is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to workers about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-up by taking a break to focus on "Grain Engulfment Hazards" and reinforcing the importance of grain bin safety. Employers of companies not exposed to grain bin hazards can use this opportunity to have a conversation with workers about the other identified job hazards they face, protective methods, and the company's safety policies and goals. It can also be an opportunity for workers to talk to management and provide direct input about grain bin and other job hazards they see.
Companies may participate by providing a focused activity and/or toolbox talk. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-up that works best for their workplace. See Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful "Stand-Up" and Highlights from the Past Stand-Ups. OSHA also hosts an "Events page" with events that are free and open to the public to help employers and workers find events in their area.
During this Week, each day will have an identified safety topic and employers and workers will be able to conduct site activities such as employee training, hazard hunts, audits of prevention measures, corrections of any identified hazards, and a review of engulfment prevention measures and procedures.
Companies can print a certificate of participation showing their workers’ involvement in this prevention initiative.
Anyone who wants to prevent hazards in the workplace can participate in the Stand-Up. In past years, participants included grain-handling, feed-manufacturing and grain-processing facilities, and others all throughout the country.
Visit the Stand-Up website for more information on the national outreach campaign.