Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Grain industry hazards lead to deaths, injuries each year

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Region 5 News Release: 13-1128-CHI
June 19, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Learn & Live: Grain industry hazards lead to deaths, injuries each year
OSHA works with The Ohio State University to promote safe practices

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Five seconds. That is how quickly a worker can become engulfed in flowing grain and be unable to get out.

Sixty seconds. That is how quickly a worker can be completely submerged in flowing grain. More than half of all grain engulfments result in death by suffocation.

In 2010, at least 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain engulfments, the highest number on record.
In the past 50 years, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported with a fatality rate of 62 percent, according to researchers at Purdue University in Indiana.

Record death and injuries in 2010, led the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to reach out to the agricultural and grain handling industries to find ways to prevent deaths and injuries. OSHA also developed a Local Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities focusing on the grain and feed industry's six major hazards. These include engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, "struck by," combustible dust explosions and electrocution hazards. 

grain image
"OSHA is working hard to change the 'it won't happen to me' mindset," said Nick Walters, OSHA Regional Administrator for six Midwestern states. "Grain handling injuries and deaths can be prevented if employers follow proper safety procedures." 

Suffocation can occur when a worker becomes buried by grain as they walk on moving grain or attempt to clear grain built up on the inside of a bin. Moving grain acts like "quicksand" and can bury a worker in seconds. "Bridged" grain and vertical piles of stored grain can also collapse unexpectedly if a worker stands on or near it. The behavior and weight of the grain make it extremely difficult for a worker to get out of it without assistance. 

In Ohio, there have been two recent engulfment deaths on family farms in Milan and in Clark County near Springfield. The most recent death occurred May 28. Neither farm is under OSHA jurisdiction as they employ 10 or less individuals. 

OSHA has worked with the Ohio State University to develop a grain safety training session as part of the 2012 OSU/OSHA Safety Day on Grain Safety and plans to do a presentation for the Grain Elevator and Processing Society later this year. 

"OSHA is working together with the grain and agricultural industries and the agricultural community to train employers and workers about the unique hazards of the grain and feed industry," said Walters. "Through training, decals, brochures, websites, and other means of information communication, we will continue to work to improve awareness of these hazards and the safety and health of workers on Ohio farms and in grain handling facilities. We are committed to preventing the injuries and deaths that have been too frequent in the industry in recent years."

OSHA, the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois and the Illinois Grain Handling Safety Coalition have also developed a stop sign decal to adhere to grain bin doors using pictures and short phrases reminding entrants to lockout potentially hazardous equipment, stay clear of waist high grain, cover floor holes and to follow other best practices. Individuals or companies can email the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois at to request the decal, which is pictured above.

OSHA has also published information related to common grain industry hazards and abatement methods, proper bin entry techniques, sweep auger use, and many other grain related topics at OSHA's Grain Bin LEP is used in 25 states.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Safe operation of forklifts is OSHA's new local emphasis program in Idaho

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Region 10 News Release: 13-953-SEA (SF-71)
June 5, 2013
Contact: Deanne Amaden        Jose A. Carnevali
Phone: 415-625-2630         415-625-2631

Safe operation of powered industrial trucks is focus of OSHA's new local
emphasis program in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is launching a local emphasis program in Idaho aimed at reducing injuries and fatalities associated with the operation of powered industrial trucks, including forklifts and lift trucks.

OSHA compliance offices will begin conducting inspections in early June to identify and evaluate hazards of operating powered industrial trucks, or PITs, such as being struck by and caught between PITs, which could lead to serious employee injuries or death. Inspections will be conducted in selected agricultural and general industry operations in targeted industries, such as sawmills, food processing and distribution facilities, warehouse operations, and garden and home supply retailers. The establishments will be randomly selected for inspection. In addition, OSHA will respond to complaints, referrals and fatalities related to construction activities and other operations where powered industrial trucks are used.

Between 2006 and 2010, OSHA's Boise Area Office conducted five fatality investigations where employees were crushed by or struck by forklifts. The office cited 142 violations of the Powered Industrial Truck standard during that same time frame; 93 of those violations were considered serious.
Common violations include:
  • Not providing appropriate operator training, or certification of training.
  • Failure to conduct regular inspections prior to operation.
  • Defective equipment not taken out of service until repaired.
  • Elevating workers in an unsafe manner.
  • Failure to provide or ensure use of seat belts.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards may call OSHA's Boise Area Office at 208-321-2960. Information on forklifts is also available online at, with OSHA's eTool on powered industrial trucks available at Small businesses also may also request assistance at no charge from the Idaho Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program at 208-426-3283.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

US Army & National Safety Month 2013

National Safety Month
Our Army observes National Safety Month each June in conjunction with public and private organizations across the United States. This year, we are expanding our efforts to promote the observance by dedicating a campaign to safety's significance in four key areas: Civilian injury prevention, ground operations, aviation operations and off-duty driving.

New campaign materials, including informational feature articles and public service announcements, along with links to some of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center's most popular risk management tools, will be made available on this site at the beginning of each week through June. Preliminary materials are available now for download, so feel free to reproduce and distribute throughout your formations as needed.

Be sure to check back weekly for the latest safety information, and remember that risk does not keep a calendar - use National Safety Month to strengthen your safety programs now and into the future.

Army Safe is Army Strong!