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Grain storage and worker safety

People who work in or near grain storage areas in Oklahoma are at risk of being suffocated. A campaign sponsored in part by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is intended to help grain storage workers avoid suffocation accidents.

While commercial grain companies are required to adhere to safety regulations and rules issued by OSHA, private farms do not. However, workers in both circumstances can be injured by stored grain. The most critical factor in ensuring the safety of people who work around grain storage facilities is training.

Along with OSHA, the National Grain and Feed Association, the American Feed Industry Association and the Grain Elevator and Processing Society launched Stand-Up for Grain Engulfment Prevention Awareness Week, which was held the week of April 9 - 13. The aim of the project was to highlight ways in which workers can be better protected, the number of injuries can be reduced and fatalities caused by grain suffocation can be avoided.

Out-of-condition grain is the primary reason engulfment incidents occur. An engulfment can take place via bridging, avalanching or unloading. OSHA stated that the storage bins used for flowing grain can act the same as quicksand by completely engulfing someone is just seconds. Workers who are in a bin have a maximum of three seconds to move if the unloading auger is switched on. After an additional five seconds, workers can become stuck. They can become completed engulfed by the grain after only 22 seconds.

A personal injury attorney may advise workers who have been injured due to inadequate workplace safety about their legal options. The attorney may assist a client with applying for workers compensation and with appealing any denied benefits or insufficient settlement amounts. The attorney might also advise if a third-party liability suit is applicable.

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