The NGFA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hosted a major safety outreach effort – the “Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week” – from March 25-29 to help raise awareness about grain handling and storage hazards, provide education and training, and convey safety best practices.
A March 25 kickoff event, hosted by the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois and Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington, Ill., included Illinois Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Warren D. Goetsch, OSHA, NGFA and other grain industry leaders, as well as training demonstrations.
“Enhancing safety in the workplace is everyone’s job,” said NGFA Chairman Eric Wilkey in his remarks at the event, during which he reminded companies to participate with the NGFA-OSHA Alliance by hosting safety events and “toolbox talks” during the week and years to come.
Also during the kickoff, OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt described the dangers of working around grain handling and storage, noting that a person can be submerged in grain in under 60 seconds. “One minute is all it takes to change everything,” she said, encouraging employers and workers to be hypervigilant in the workplace. “Safety doesn’t start when we show up at a ‘Stand-Up’ and it certainly doesn’t stop when we leave here today.”
She said OSHA and its partners will measure the success of Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week by counting the number of certificates issued, but “the true success of this week is if we can save just one life…Together we can make a difference,” she said.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker officially proclaimed March 25-29 as Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week in Illinois. The governor’s proclamation noted: “It takes only seconds to fall, be caught between, struck by or completely engulfed during the processing of grain…and…these hazards are preventable through commitment and the establishment of best practices.”
Throughout the Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week, companies participated by providing focused activities and/or toolbox talks for employees on any hazard-prevention measure. Companies that participated are encouraged to fill out information about their safety activities on this website, which provides training materials and a certificate of participation.
The campaign was sponsored through the NGFA-OSHA Alliance in collaboration with the Grain Elevator and Processing Society, the North American Millers Association, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition and the American Feed Industry Association.
The NGFA has several resources, including Safety Tip Sheets, guidance documents and training videos, for companies wishing to become involved in the campaign. More information, as well as official OSHA regulations and guidance documents relevant to the grain handlers, can be found on OSHA’s website.