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Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week kicks-off on March 25

The Corn Palace hosts the national kick-off for Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week, aiming to reduce hazards and improve safety in the grain industry.

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Mitchell, South Dakota, home of the iconic Corn Palace, will host the national kick-off of the 2024 Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week on March 25. Organized as a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Grain Handling Safety Council, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society, and the National Grain and Feed Association, the event aims to enhance workplace safety and reduce injuries and fatalities in the high-hazard grain industry.

Since 2017, the annual Stand Up 4 Grain Week has played a vital role in raising awareness among agriculture industry employers and workers about the potentially deadly hazards present in confined spaces, particularly grain engulfment. Through OSHA’s Cooperative Alliance Program, the agency has collaborated with states’ workplace safety officials and industry stakeholders, resulting in a 17 percent reduction in the fatal engulfment rate in the U.S. from 2021 to 2022. However, despite these efforts, 36 percent of reported grain engulfments in the nation in 2022 resulted in worker fatalities due to the lack of adherence to required safeguards.

Jennifer Rous, OSHA Regional Administrator in Denver, emphasized the importance of following all safety procedures to protect workers from the dangers lurking in grain bins, such as engulfments and heat illness, which can quickly lead to tragedy.

The Stand Up 4 Grain Week will commence with the South Dakota Grain Bin Engulfment Prevention Summit, a hybrid in-person and online event, showcasing safety demonstrations and discussions. Presented by Agtegra Cooperative, Oklahoma State University, OSHA Region 8, Prairie Ag Partners, and the South Dakota University Extension OSHA Consultation, the event will offer online learning opportunities in English and Spanish, covering topics including building a safety culture, strains, sprains and musculoskeletal injuries, ladder safety, and heat and extreme temperatures.

The Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week serves as a dedicated focus on safety and the hazards faced by employees, contractors, and customers every day. The alliance has developed a video safety message to emphasize how small changes can have a significant impact on grain-handling safety. Furthermore, the alliance members will provide information to the agribusiness community and the public through various channels, including newsletters, emails, and social media using the hashtag #StandUp4GrainSafety.

OSHA’s Grain Handling Safety Standards focus on the grain and feed industry’s six major hazards: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, “struck by,” combustible dust explosions, and electrocution hazards. The resources are also available in Spanish to ensure broader accessibility and understanding among industry stakeholders.

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