The NGFA is committed to promoting safety and health in the workplace, and shares the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) commitment to protecting employees.
The NGFA’s extensive efforts to enhance safety include unprecedented research and education efforts launched in the early 1980s that helped lead to a dramatic reduction in the number of fire and explosion incidents in commercial grain-handling facilities in the late 1970s. The industry has demonstrated its commitment, before and after the promulgation of the OSHA’s grain handling standard, 29 CFR 1910.272, in 1988.
NEW guidance document: Overview of OSHA Final Rule on Electronic Reporting
NEW Safety Tips sheet: Bulk Material Storage and Handling
Dramatic Decline in Number and Severity of Explosions — Over the last 40 years, there has been an unprecedented decline in explosions, injuries and fatalities at grain handling facilities.
GRAIN ENGULFMENT PREVENTION
Historically, nearly 70 percent of engulfment incidents occur in farm bins that are not covered by OSHA’s grain handling standard, which applies solely to commercial facilities. Check out some resources to assess your risk:
Thus, if it is necessary to have employees enter a bin, silo or tank, the applicable practices found in OSHA’s grain handling facilities standard need to be followed to help minimize the risk. The OSHA standard includes requirements for employers to:
- issue written permits before entry occurs, unless the employer or its representative is present during the entire operation;
- disconnect, lock-out and tag all mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic equipment feeding or emptying the structure that presents a danger to persons while inside bins, silos or tanks;
- test the atmosphere within a bin, silo or tank for the presence of combustible gases, vapors and toxic agents if the employer has reason to believe such hazards may be present. Testing for the presence of oxygen also is required unless there is continuous natural air movement or forced air ventilation before and during the time persons are inside the structure. Respirators are to be provided if ventilation cannot eliminate toxicity or oxygen deficiencies;
- equip persons entering bins, silos or tanks from the top with body harnesses with lifelines, or a boatswain’s chair meeting OSHA requirements; and
- station an observer “equipped to provide assistance” and trained in rescue procedures outside the structure during entry operations. Employers also are required to provide equipment for rescue operations.
TRAINING & EDUCATION
- Guidance Documents
- On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule requiring certain employers to submit data electronically from their work-related injury records to the agency. The final rule also solidifies OSHA’s anti-retaliation protections for employees reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.The final rule generally becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2017. However, compliance with anti-retaliation provisions and reporting deadlines will be phased in through 2019.
- NGFA and the American Feed Industry Association released a hazard communication compliance guide for consideration and use by grain handling, feed, ingredient and processing facilities. With a June 1 implementation deadline approaching for compliance with major elements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recently revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), the associations created the document to ensure the industry is prepared for updated compliance requirements. For more information, download the free, nearly 50-page document.
- Please note – If you share the document, please include the following information: “This document is distributed with the permission of the National Grain and Feed Association, the American Feed Industry Association, the Corn Refiners Association and the North American Millers Association.” We also ask that the credit include the name of the publication and the publication date (e.g., “The document Guidance: Hazard Communication Program at Grain Handling, Feed, Ingredient & Processing Facilities was originally published in May 2015”).
- For more information, see the recorded webinar where experts from the organizations highlighted recent changes and provided answers to members’ most frequently asked questions.
- NGFA prepared a guidance document to assist grain handling facilities in evaluating their boot pits to determine whether they meet OSHA’s definition of permit-required confined spaces.
- Training Videos
Your Safety Matters
Developed jointly by the NGFA and Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS), this new safety training DVD is geared specifically to employees of grain-handling, feed-manufacturing and grain-processing operations. The 30-minute DVD, which also is available in Spanish, addresses many safety-related issues, including confined space safety. You can preview the video in English or Spanish. (Order Form)
Grain Bin Safety on the Farm
The National Corn Growers Association and the National Grain and Feed Foundation (NGFF) – the NGFA’s research and education arm – earlier this year recently unveiled a joint DVD project to promote grain bin safety on the farm. Preview the video for more information.
Don’t Go With the Flow
Developed in 1998 by Purdue University under a contract with the NGFF this program reviews the hazards associated with flowing grain and the most common types of grain entrapments at commercial facilities. Preview the video for more information. (Order Form)
- Research Projects
National Fire Protection Association Study
- A significant increase in costs and loss of overall storage capacity for both concrete and steel bins were the findings of recent study on the application of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) explosion/deflagration venting requirements per latest editions of NFPA 68 – Standard on Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting. The NFPA standards are commonly used in North America (Canada, United States and Mexico) as the basis for determining if explosion venting is required and if so, the total amount of vent area required.
- This study was financed by the National Grain and Feed Foundation and was conducted by the engineering firm Van Sickle, Allen and Associates in Minneapolis, Minn. The NFPA briefly considered conducting a research study to determine appropriate venting ratio data for silos utilized for storing agricultural commodities, including grains and oilseeds. The NFPA research was intended to follow up on one conducted through the NGFA’s Fire and Explosion Research Program in 1983. However, the NFPA Foundation ultimately decided not to pursue new research.
- For more information, see an Executive Summary or a PowerPoint presentation on the report.
- To order a full copy of the 90-page study, the cost is $250 for non-NGFA members and $100 for NGFA members, contact Jess McCluer, NGFA director of safety and regulatory affairs.
- OSHA Information
- Safety Tips
The NGFA is pleased to introduce a new series – “Safety Tips” – that will be published periodically as part of the Association’s continued commitment to safety in the workplace. These documents are designed to provide more information on certain types of hazards and suggested ways to protect employees through safety best practices. View each “Safety Tips” sheet below.
- Safety Seminars
NGFA Director of Safety and Regulatory Affairs Jess McCluer will lead several safety seminars over the next few months starting in January 2016. Each year, NGFA jointly sponsors safety seminars with affiliated state and regional grain and feed associations. The one-day conferences focus on keeping grain handling employees physically safe.
He will travel around the country to discuss emerging and evolving regulatory issues from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) as well as overviews of implementing safety and health management plans and quality management practices for grain handling facilities.
Please see safety seminar dates and presentations here.