Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) conducted 218 nonfatal inspections and three fatality inspections in grain facilities during federal fiscal years 2007 to 2016 (10/1/2006-9/30/2016). In the fatalities, MNOSHA issued citations for entrapment hazards and lack of employee training.
Unfortunately, these were not rare occurrences. A review of federal OSHA inspection data found grain entrapments generally occur because of employer negligence, noncompliance with OSHA standards, and overall poor safety and health practices.
During MNOSHA's fatality, near-miss, serious injury and planned compliance investigations, inspectors determined a main reason for these accidents was employees walking on top of the grain. Often, the employees who became engulfed in grain went inside a grain bin to try to dislodge or break up the grain and the buildup of grain collapsed below them or from the sides of the bin.
MNOSHA includes grain industries in its strategic plan for 2014 through 2018. MNOSHA will conduct planned compliance inspections and offer free safety and health consultations at grain-handling facilities.
In Minnesota, the majority of the fatalities involving grain-handling and storage involved farmers and farm workers, who are not under MNOSHA jurisdiction. The data below includes information from family farms, corporate farms and all industries.