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Minnesota OSHA inspections during federal-fiscal-year 2011 through 2020

Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) Compliance conducted 226 nonfatality inspections and three fatality inspections in grain facilities during federal-fiscal-years (FFYs) 2011 through 2020 (Oct. 1, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2020). In the fatalities, MNOSHA Compliance issued citations for entrapment hazards, machine guarding, lockout-tagout and improper silo entry.

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 Compliance'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.

Strategic plan adds planned compliance inspections

MNOSHA Compliance includes grain industries in its strategic plan for 2024 through 2028. MNOSHA will conduct planned compliance inspections and offer free safety and health consultations at grain-handling facilities.

Characteristics of fatal injuries

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.