Three simple steps to promote grain safety

APRIL 13-20, 2020

Welcome to Stand Up Week!

Increased storage capacities combined with larger, faster handling, and automated equipment contribute to the safety and health hazards of grain workers.

NGFA, OSHA, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS), the American Feed Industry Association, and the Grain Handling Safety Coalition are working together to raise awarenes of industry and OSHA resources available to identify potential hazards at grain, feed, and processing facilities through the Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week.

During this week, each day will have an identified safety topic and employers and workers will be able to conduct site activities such as employee training, hazard hunts, audits of preventative measures, corrections of any identified hazards, and a review of engulfments prevention measures and procedures.


The grain handling industry is a high hazard industry where workers can be exposed to numerous serious and life-threatening hazards. These hazards include: 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.

Suffocation is a leading cause of death in grain storage bins. Suffocation can occur when a worker becomes buried (engulfed) by grain as they walk on moving grain or attempt to clear grain built up on the inside of a bin. Moving grain acts like "quicksand" and can bury a worker in seconds. "Bridged" grain and vertical piles of stored grain can also collapse unexpectedly if a worker stands on or near it. The behavior and weight of the grain make it extremely difficult for a worker to get out of it without assistance. Employers should not allow workers to enter grain storage facilities without proper equipment, precautions (such as turning off and locking/tagging out all equipment used so that the grain is no being emptied or moving into the bin) and training.

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

Falls from height can occur from many walking/working surfaces throughout a grain handling facility. Examples of such surfaces include floors, machinery, structures, roofs, skylights, unguarded holes, wall and floor openings, ladders, unguarded catwalks, platforms and manlifts. Falls can also occur as workers move from the vertical exterior ladders on grain bins to the bin roof or through a bin entrance.

Mechanical equipment within grain storage structures, such as augers and conveyors, present serious entanglement and amputation hazards. Workers can easily get limbs caught in improperly guarded moving parts of such mechanical equipment.

Storage structures can also develop hazardous atmospheres due to gases given off from spoiling grain or fumigation. Workers may be exposed to unhealthy levels of airborne contaminants, including molds, chemical fumigants (toxic chemicals), and gases associated with decaying and fermenting silage. Fumigants are commonly used for insect control on stored grain and many have inadequate warning properties. Exposure to fumigants may cause permanent central nervous system damage, heart and vascular disease, and lung edema as well as cancer. These gases may result in a worker passing out and falling into the grain, thus becoming engulfed and suffocating or otherwise injuring themselves.

What is a Safety Stand-Up?

A Safety Stand-Up is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to workers about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-up by taking a break to focus on "Grain Engulfment Hazards" and reinforcing the importance of grain bin safety. Employers of companies not exposed to grain bin hazards, can also use this opportunity to have a conversation with workers about the other identified job hazards they face, protective methods, and the company's safety policies and goals. It can also be an opportunity for workers to talk to management and provide direct input about grain bin and other job hazards they see.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone who wants to prevent hazards in the workplace can participate in the Stand-Up. In past years, participants included grain-handling, feed-manufacturing and grain-processing facilities, and others all throughout the country.


Through the OSHA and National Grain and Feed Association Alliance, OSHA is partnering with key industry groups to assist with this national outreach effort, including the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS), the Grain Handling Safety Coalition (GHSC), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the University of Texas-Arlington (UTA), and Nationwide Insurance, who sponsors the Grain Bin Safety Week, held annually each February.

How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Up

Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Up by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific identified hazards. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-up that works best for their workplace. To assist employers and workers, please see the following "How to Conduct a Successful Safety Stand-Up" developed in cooperation with GEAPS. See the Suggested Checklist to Prepare for a Successful Stand-Up and Highlights from the Past Stand-Ups. OSHA also hosts an "Events page" with events that are free and open to the public to help employers and workers find events in your area.

Share Your Story With Us

If you want to share information with OSHA on your Safety Stand-Up, or provide suggestions on how we can improve future initiatives like this, please send your email to Also share your Stand-Up success story on social media, with the hashtag: #StandUp4GrainSafety. If you plan to host a free event that is open to the public, see OSHA's Events page to submit the event details and who to contact.

Your Safety Matters

Developed jointly by the NGFA and GEAPS, this safety training DVD is geared specifically to workers of grain-handling, feed-manufacturing and grain-processing operations. The 30-minute DVD, which is available in English or Spanish (can be previewed here or ), addresses many safety-related issues, including confined space safety. You can order the full-length video by using this form.

Grain Bin Safety on the Farm

The National Corn Growers Association and the National Grain and Feed Foundation (NGFF) - the NGFA'S research and education arm - earlier this year recently unveiled a joint DVD project to promote grain bin safety on the farm. Preview the for more information.

Grain Stand-Up Campaign Promotional Poster

Print size 11X17


The University of Texas at Arlington
Division for Enterprise Development
OSHA Education Center
140 W. Mitchell
Arlington, TX 76010

(817) 272-2581