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Hazardous Conditions at Grain Handling Facilities

September 15, 2011

Grain handling facilities consist of grain elevators, feed mills, dust palletizing plants, dry corn mills, soybean flaking operations, flour and rice mills and dry grinding operations of soycake.  These operations have lead to many health and safety hazards. The two leading causes of deaths in these operational facilities are suffocation from the amount of airborne grain dust, confined spaces and falls from the slippery flooring around machinery.  Employees would benefit from a non-slip floor around the slick areas.

Other hazards include potential flash fires from excessive amounts of grain dust, electrocutions and injuries from improperly guarded machinery and improper ventilation.  It is mandatory that employees take accurate safety testing when hired in.  One test is to implement a hot work permit system which deals with any activities that produce a flame or spark and another test is conducted in confined spaces.  When working in these operational facilities you often enter silos, bins and tanks which are extremely confined.  Before entering, the employee must wear a full parachute-type body harness with a lifeline.  This body harness holds the body vertical in case of an accident and makes it easier for the employee to be removed from small access hatches.  Keeping track of the oxygen levels is also important.  If the oxygen level is under 19.5%, then ventilation must be supplied immediately by air respirators.  While the employee is working in the bin or tank, there needs to be constant communication between another employee.  Following these procedures are extremely important because 25 U.S. workers were killed in grain entrapments last year, which is the most they have ever had.

Due to the amount of risk factors, employees must utilize their safety training on a daily basis in order to maintain a safe environment.  SlipNOT® Metal Safety Flooring can assist by providing non-slip flooring around machinery and throughout the facilities to prevent slip and falls.  When employees perform dangerous tasks on machinery they should feel confident with the traction under their feet.

Brownlee, Pat. “Safety in Grain Handling Facilities”. June 24, 2011.  http://www.blog4safety.com/2011/06/safety-in-grain-handling-facilities/.

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