Ag Safety


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.


OSHA currently has emphasis programs that apply to grain, feed, and processing facilities within the jurisdiction of all Regions V, VI, VII, VIII and X Area OSHA Offices.

Based on these programs, inspections will primarily focus on the six major hazard areas of engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, struck by, combustible dust explosions and electrocution.  


Safety Tips

The NGFA’s “Safety Tips” series is 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.

Preparing Bins for Harvest

Vehicle Struck-By

Combustible Dust and OSHA Housekeeping Requirements

Bulk Material Storage and Handling

Dust Suppression Techniques

Lockout/Tagout & Energy Isolation

Lifting, Rigging, and Hoisting


Training Employees on Revised OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (66 mins.) |  Nov. 14, 2013 | View webinar | View presentation slides

NGFA Update on OSHA’s Enforcement of Boot Pits (61 mins.) | Oct. 22, 2013 | View webinar | View presentation slides 

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.

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)

Guidance Documents

Overview of OSHA Final Rule on Electronic Reporting

  • 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.

OSHA Hazard Communication Guide

  • 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.

Permit Required Confined Space/Boot Pit Evaluation Guide for Grain Elevators

  • 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.

Facility Risk-Assessment and Security Guide

NGFA Guidance for Complying with UGRSA Facility Security Plan


Research Projects

Past 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 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 vice president of safety and regulatory affairs.

Current Projects

More information to come.


Recent articles, press releases and articles on safety, health and environmental quality.

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 Dust Explosion Data

The National Grain and Feed Foundation provides support for dust explosion annual reports (years 2006 to 2014 available) produced by Kansas State University.

OSHA Grain Handling Standard

OSHA Grain Bin Safety and Health Topics