WASHINGTON ‒ Grain flowing inside a bin can trap and engulf a worker in seconds, and makes for a sobering fact: nearly six of every 10 workers trapped in a grain bin don’t survive.
For the past six years, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, Grain Elevator and Processing Society and National Grain and Feed Association have been working together to address hazards, reduce risks and improve safety and health management systems to help prevent life-altering injuries and fatalities.
In 2022, the alliance will hold its annual Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week from April 4 to April 8 with a focus on making small changes for a big impact to improve safety in this high-hazard industry.
“Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week will bring industry professionals together to focus on how small changes can eliminate dangerous hazards and protect workers from serious injuries” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “This week can be a great first step, but it cannot be a one-time endeavor. Every employer should continuously inform, train and look for ways to improve safety on their worksite so that workers are able to go home safely at the end of each day.”
The week includes a hybrid kick-off event on April 4, with live bin safety demonstrations and success stories beginning at 10 a.m. CDT from the Eastern Nebraska Research Center in Mead. This year, the alliance has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The week-long events will also feature daily virtual interactive online learning sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. CDT on topics including heat/cold and extreme weather safety, workplace wellness, electrical safety, personal protective equipment, struck by, and grain loading and unloading hazards hosted by the Grain Handling Safety Coalition. Two of the training sessions ‒ heat/cold stress and extreme weather, and workplace wellness ‒ will be offered in Spanish on April 6 and 7 at 2 p.m. CDT. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Hispanic and Latino workers fatal injury rate rose, from 4.2 per 100,000 full-time workers in 2019 to 4.5 in 2020. The rate for all grain workers was 6.4 percent per 100,000.
The Grain Handling Safety Coalition’s online webinars will feature experts with additional information about related OSHA regulations, and an open discussion forum. Learn more and register for the webinars. Find local live event information.
To explain how industry employers can participate in Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week, the coalition has developed a video safety message. In it, experts explain 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. Since then, the event has grown as industry stakeholders 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.