OSHA Emphasis Program Started for Kansas Grain Industry

The agency's Wichita Area Office will examine grain elevators and other operations for hazards typically associated with grain handling. Two workers died in June when a grain elevator collapsed in Russell, Kan.

OSHA announced that a new local emphasis program has begun that targets hazards typically associated with grain handling at operations in Kansas, which is far and away the leading state in wheat production.

OSHA said personnel from its Wichita Area Office (phone 316-269-6644) will examine grain elevators, storage bins; rail cars; milling, fertilizer, feed, chemical, and farm machinery operations; and equipment repair and maintenance, with their inspections including hazard evaluations on fall protection, engulfment, fire, explosions from combustible dust, noise, confined spaces, and machine guarding. Kansas ranks first nationally in flour milling, wheat gluten production, and wheat stored, according to the state's Department of Agriculture.

A grain elevator's collapse on June 24, 2010, killed two workers in Russell, Kan. They were unloading a truck and were engulfed by the grain as the elevator collapsed, according to media reports at the time.

"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."

This program continues OSHA's 2010 emphasis on grain operations. Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels sent a letter Aug. 4 reminding grain elevator operators about engulfment hazards.

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