Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Grain association issues alert on preventing engulfments

Grain bins

Washington – A recently released safety alert from the National Grain and Feed Association aims to help protect workers from grain engulfments and other hazards.

Workers should refrain from entering a grain storage unit unless absolutely necessary, the alert states. If they must enter, they should follow OSHA’s Grain Handling Facilities Standard.

According to the alert, safety measures for a worker entering a grain bin include:

  • Before entry, issue written permits if the employer or its representation is not present.
  • Disconnect all potentially hazardous equipment while filling or emptying the unit.
  • Wear a body harness with a lifeline or use a boatswain’s chair that complies with OSHA requirements.

The alert also points to other resources, including a poster on best practices for entering grain bins and a video, produced jointly with the National Corn Growers Association, about grain bin safety on farms.

In 2014, 17 deaths resulted from at least 38 grain entrapment incidents – 15 percent from the previous year – the alert states, citing a Purdue University report. More than 80 percent of incidents took place at farm bins not regulated by OSHA’s standard on grain handling facilities.