Agencies Still Calling for Grain Bin Safety

With the agricultural season still under way, the U.S. Labor Department reminds us how easily grain bin engulfment can happen.

According to an article posted to the Department of Labor's blog and written by OSHA Peoria Area Director Tom Bielema, farmers more than ever need to be aware of grain bin hazards. Due to this season's record-breaking corn crop, safety is a prime concern in the industry. Cal/OSHA issued a similar warning last week.

DOL has taken several measures over the last few years to ensure agricultural workers are aware of and can prevent grain engulfment. These measures range from publishing hazard alerts regarding grain handling to sending letters to manufacturers and companies across the country, to distributing Grain Bin Entry wallet cards and launching grain bin safety campaigns in various states. The agency also produced a series of "Learn and Live" campaigns to help promote awareness among agricultural workers.

Most recently, OSHA award several Susan Harwood Training and Education grants, two of which will be going to Purdue University in Indiana and the University of Illinois to conduct educational programs with workers and owners of grain elevators to help prevent engulfment incidents. During the Sept. 15-21 Farm Safety and Health Week, hosted by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, the theme was "Working Together for Safety in Agriculture" due to higher fatality rates in agriculture than any other industry.

According to the article, a worker can become engulfed in moving grain in five seconds. In 60 seconds, the worker can be submerged and can suffocate and die. In the past 50 years, 900 workers have become engulfed in grain, with 62 percent of them dying, and 26 workers were killed in 2010 alone.

The hazards are real, according to DOL and OSHA, and manufacturers, workers, and industry leaders need to take even more preventative measures than are already being taken.For more information, visit http://social.dol.gov/blog/you-can-die-in-a-grain-bin-in-less-than-60-seconds/

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