| Jan 27, 2012
In February 2011, OSHA issued a letter to grain handling facilities warning about the dangers of grain entrapments and reminding operators that it is their responsibility to recognize and prevent workplace hazards.
The letter was sent after a number of tragic and near-miss grain entrapment accidents including the following.
- July 2010, two teenagers (ages 14 and 19) were killed in a tragic incident involving a grain elevator in Illinois. Both young workers suffocated after being engulfed in a grain bin they had entered to help clear. A third young worker was pulled out of the storage bin alive, and was hospitalized after being trapped for 12 hours.
- November 2009, OSHA fined a grain elevator facility more than $1.5 million following the May 29, 2009 death of a teenage worker at the company's grain storage operation. The youth suffocated after being engulfed by grain in one of the facility's bins. The company also exposed three other teenage workers to the cited hazards.
- May 2010, OSHA fined a growers association in South Dakota more than $1.6 million following the death of a worker who had suffocated after being engulfed by grain. OSHA's investigation found that five additional workers were also at risk of being engulfed when they were sent into the bin to dig the victim out.
- August, 2010, OSHA fined a facility in Wisconsin $721,000 after a worker was buried up to his chest and trapped in frozen soybeans. The worker was ultimately rescued after a four hour ordeal.
- January 2011, OSHA fined two companies in Illinois, following the deaths of three workers, including two teenagers. The workers were killed when they suffocated after being engulfed by grain. The fines to both companies totaled $1,284,000.
I was struck by the language of the letter, which mentions that these accidents are not rare and that the "trend is continuing". The reality is that many of the reasons workers enter grain storage bins and silos is because of common material flow problems like ratholes, bridging, clogs,etc. Most of these common problems are solved easily and inexpensively by installing material flow aids like air cannons and vibrators.
So now we're on a mission... we are actively offering assistance to grain facility operators. We offer a no-charge, no-obligation service called the VIBCO Virtual Van Visit that makes sizing and selecting the right vibrator a total no-brainer. The operators simply fill out an easy online form at http://www.vibco.com/content/van-visit-request.php including a few photos of the installation area.
We'll send them marked up photos and a referral to a nearby VIBCO Vibrators dealer to complete the purchase.
Learn more about VIBCO's Virtual Van Visit program by watching this short video:
Virtual Van Visit