OSHA has launched a local emphasis program in Kansas aimed at reducing injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the grain handling industry, according to an agency press release.

Under the program, OSHA’s Wichita Area Office will target establishments such as grain elevators and storage bins, rail car, milling, fertilizer, feed, chemical and farm machinery operations; and equipment repair and maintenance.

"The hazards associated with grain handling operations are well recognized, and allowing workers to enter grain storage facilities without proper equipment, precautions and training can cost workers their lives," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "OSHA's Wichita Area Office will devote resources to outreach and enforcement activities in an effort to prevent workplace hazards and save lives."

Inspections will include hazard evaluations on grain handling including fall protection, engulfment and fire, explosions from combustible dust, noise, confined space and machine guarding.

In August, OSHA sent a letter to grain elevator operators advising them that it is their responsibility to prevent workers from dying in grain storage facilities. All employers, and especially those in high-hazard industries such as the grain industry, must recognize as well as prevent workplace hazards. The letter is available at:http://www.osha.gov/asst-sec/Grain_letter.html. For more information on the grain handling facilities standard, go to:http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9875.