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OSHA and WABA hope to decrease grain bin work injury risk

Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association (WABA) have dedicated time and resources to educate employers and workers on the tremendous importance of safety when it comes to working around grain bins. The statistics are staggering: in 2010 alone, at least 26 people lost their lives due to work-related grain engulfments. At least one Wisconsin agriculture worker died in a grain engulfment last April, with another suffering a work injury after being engulfed by soybeans in 2010.

Nationally speaking, there have been 900 cases of grain engulfment recorded over the past half-century. The fatality rate for these types of work accidents is a shocking 62 percent, making it crucial for employers and workers to take all appropriate safety measures when working in and around grain bins. OSHA and WABA are offering safety programs and even webinars to try and spread the word about ways to decrease injuries and deaths due to grain engulfments.

They also meet on a quarterly basis to further develop methods and educational opportunities to increase awareness of this topic. Other work safety issues also play a role in their outreach efforts, but grain handling is certainly one of the most important topics they discuss. Two other groups have stepped up to say they will also further spread the word about grain handling safety: the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Extension's Agricultural Safety Specialist. Plans include publishing safety information on their websites and in their newsletters, along with others.

Someone who has already suffered a work injury while working around grain bins may be struggling with financial bills and wondering how to make ends meet. This is one reason that workers' compensation laws exist to protect injured workers. A worker injured on the job may be eligible to make a workers' compensation claim in order to have their medical expenses covered, along with the ability to continue making at least some of their typical wages while unable to work. Researching the applicable laws may help workers better understand just what rights they have.

Source: Wisconsin Ag Connection, "OSHA, WABA Teaming Up to Promote Grain Storage Safety," Daniel L. Schiller, June 20, 2013

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