Last week’s grain elevator accident in LaCrosse has prompted the Indiana Department of Labor to urge employers and employees to review grain handling facility hazards and how to prevent occupational injuries and fatalities.
Four employees at Co-Alliance were injured in an explosion caused by an industrial accident on April 15.
According to the Department of Labor, the grain handling industry is a high hazard industry where workers can be exposed to serious and life threatening hazards including fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation. Other hazards include suffocation from engulfment and entrapment in grain bins, falls from heights and crushing injuries, and amputations from equipment.
Employees should test the air within a bin or silo prior to entry to check for the presence of combustible and toxic gases. A body harness and lifeline or boatswains chair should be provided to all employees. All power sources should be shut down before someone enters a grain bin or silo. Workers should not walk down the grain or use similar practices to make the grain flow.
More safe grain handling procedures can be found on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website at www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/evaluation.html.