Grain elevator accidents can pin agricultural workers beneath a torrent of grain that acts like quicksand. Last year, 26 men and boys died in these accidents, the most on record.
A key federal agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has started a program to respond. The goal is to prevent personal injuries and fatalities in grain elevators. The program will organize safety inspections of selected grain elevators and issue citations for those that are not following OSHA standards.
OSHA says that grain elevators were randomly chosen for the program and were not targeted for inspection. The inspections will focus on any potentially hazardous situations associated with grain handling. These can include engulfment, fire, and explosions from combustible dust.
Last August, OSHA sent a letter to the owners and operators of grain elevators, explaining that it was their responsibility to prevent fatalities on the job. Workers injured or killed while working in a grain elevator could potentially hold the operator or owner liable for damages.
In a press release, OSHA regional administrator in Kansas City, Charles E. Adkins, explained the importance of the new federal emphasis program. "The hazards associated with grain handling operations are well recognized, and allowing workers to enter grain storage facilities without proper equipment, precautions and training can cost workers their lives," said Adkins.
If you have questions about workplace safety, don't hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at our firm.