Grain Handling Facility Safety

Grain handling facilities receive, handle, store, process and ship bulk raw agricultural commodities such as corn, wheat, oats, barley, sunflower seeds, and soybeans. Grain handling facilities include grain elevators, feed mills, flour mills, rice mills, dust pelletizing plants, dry corn mills, and facilities with soybean flaking operations.

Working in grain handling facilities presents a number of safety hazards, including fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation; suffocation from engulfment and entrapment in grain bins, falls from heights, and crushing injuries and amputations from grain handling equipment.

Explosion Hazards

Grain dust explosions are often severe, involving loss of life and substantial property damage. Grain dust, the main source of fuel for explosions in grain handling, is highly combustible, and can burn or explode if enough becomes airborne or accumulates on a surface and finds an ignition source (such as a hot bearing, overheated motor, misaligned conveyor belt, or the activities of welding, cutting, and brazing).

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Grain Handling Facilities Standard requires that both grain dust and ignition sources be controlled to prevent these often deadly explosions.  

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