Grain Industry Safer with OSHA Regulation

March 14, 2003
The grain industry is a safer place to work since OSHA's Grain Handling Facilities Standard went into effect: fatalities from grain explosions have been reduced by 70 percent, while injuries are down 55 percent and the number of suffocations is down by 44 percent.

In addition, a regulatory review found since the standard was promulgated in 1987, implementation of the standard has not had a negative effect on the industry generally or on small businesses within the industry.

"It is important that we regularly review our standards," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "In this case the review showed that the standard is helping to save lives and has not had a negative effect on the industry. At the same time, the review pointed out some particular clarifications and changes that we can make to assist in compliance with the standard."

OSHA conducted its regulatory review of the Grain Handling Facilities Standard, under Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Section 5 of Executive Order 12866, to determine if the standard is needed and if it should be amended. OSHA found the standard has not had a negative impact on small businesses; the standard saves lives; and no major changes have occurred in technological, economic or other factors that warrant a substantial revision of the standard.

Based on comments received during the review, OSHA will issue clarifications and consider possible improvements to the Grain Handling Facilities Standard, including whether the confined space requirements of the Grain Handling Standard should apply to all areas of grain storage facilities currently covered by the general Confined Spaces Standard. The agency will also consider updating references to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements that are in the Grain Handling Facilities Standard.

OSHA's Grain Handling Facilities Standard focuses on requirements for controlling grain fires, grain dust explosions and hazards associated with entry into bins, silos and tanks. Grain mills and grain elevators are the major sectors affected by the standard.

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