The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a hazard alert on the dangers of engulfment and suffocation in grain bins. Grain bins are used to store bulk raw agricultural commodities such as corn, wheat, and oats.

Workers who enter bins can be engulfed and suffocated if they stand on moving or flowing grain, which can act like "quicksand" and pull a worker under; if they stand on or below "bridged" grain, which can collapse and bury workers; or if they try to loosen grain, which can cave in on workers.

The OSHA alert describes how workers may become engulfed in grain bins and lists the precautions that employers must take under OSHA's grain handling facility standard to protect workers. It also summarizes OSHA´s recent efforts related to grain handling facilities (including resources) and the findings from the agency´s recent enforcement activity.

For more, see the OSHA release.