World Grain - May 2018 - 6
FROM THE EDITOR
Still progress to be
made in safety
an suffocates in grain entrapment
"Multiple injuries reported in
grain dust explosion at mill."
Although in recent years some progress
has been made in the grain storage and processing industries regarding worker safety,
tragic headlines like these still come across
our newswire far too often.
The bottom line for operational employees in these industries is this: Working at a
facility where grain is stored or processed is
inherently dangerous, and management and
to make safety THE top priority to prevent
these tragedies from occurring, or at least
drastically reduce the number of them.
The good news is the emphasis on employHHVDIHW\LQWKHJUDLQÀRXUPLOOLQJDQGIHHG
milling industries has never been greater. In
recent years, almost every education program
at the major industry events I've attended has
had presentations designed to make work environments in the grain storage and processing industries safer. Without question, companies are emphasizing employee safety like
The bad news, however, is that these incidents continue to occur at an unacceptable
frequency despite the industry's best efforts
to educate their workers on how to avoid
these life-threatening situations.
In the United States, for instance, there
were seven reported grain dust explosions at
food and agricultural facilities in 2017, two
more than in 2016 but below the 10-year average of 9.3 explosions per year, according
to an annual report issued by Purdue University. Five people were killed and 12 were
injured in 2017, with all of the deaths and
all but one of the injuries occurring at an explosion at Didion Milling's corn processing
facility in Wisconsin.
That's not to say progress hasn't been made.
The number of grain dust explosions, injuries and deaths in the United States have
gradually fallen over the last 40 years, according to the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration. From 1976-85, the
annual average was 21.7 explosions, 44.1 in-
juries and 14.3 deaths. Those numbers fell to
13.8, 10.5 and 1.8 from 1986-95, 10.6, 12.6
and 1.6 from 1996-2005 and 9.7, 9.4 and 0.8
from 2006-14. That's a 55% decline in explosions, a 79% decline in injuries and 95%
decline in fatalities over that 40-year period.
Since the recent high of 59 grain entrapment cases linked to 31 deaths in 2010, the
30.2 with 29 entrapment cases reported in
2016, according to the Purdue report.
:KLOH PRVW RI WKHVH QXPEHUV UHÀHFW LPprovement, it still falls short of the goal. One
of the best presentations I have heard on the
subject of employee safety came from Ardent Mills CEO Dan Dye who stated to an
Conference that zero injuries/fatalities are
the company's goal and that the company
views safety as a value, not just a priority.
You might question whether zero incidents is a realistic goal, but certainly the
vast majority of incidents are preventable.
So many grain entrapment stories start with
grain that isn't properly managed, causing it to clump together, which prevents it
break up the crusted grain and, in a matter
of seconds, is enveloped and dies. As for
grain dust explosions, the culprit is almost
always too much dust accumulation due to
sensors on equipment that issue a warning
when a bearing or some other potential ignition source is overheating.
As someone who lost their father in an
industrial accident when I was 3, I know
the impact these incidents have not only on
the victim's co-workers
but the family members
they leave behind. And I
always wonder did everyone - from the victim to
the top managers in the
company they worked for - do everything
they could to prevent it.
Morton I. Sosland
Digital Media Associate Editor Holly Demaree
International Sales Manager Adam Ungashick
Audience Development Manager Kay Hudspeth
Audience Development Specialist Molly Brown
Director of Digital Media
Digital Advertising Manager
Advertising Assistant Manager
Design Services Manager Sadowna Conarroe
Chairman and CEO
Chief Financial and
Director of Operations
L. Joshua Sosland
WORLD GRAIN (ISSN 0745-8991) Volume 36, issue 5,
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May 2018 / World Grain / www.World-Grain.com