Home of the iconic Corn Palace — a symbol of the region’s healthy agricultural climate since 1892 — Mitchell, SD, will be the host location on March 25 for the national kick-off of the 2024 Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week.

This year’s event, taking place from March 25 – 29, is a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Grain Handling Safety Council, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society and the National Grain and Feed Association.

Since 2017, the annual Stand Up 4 Grain Week has served to remind ag industry employers and workers of the potentially deadly hazards present in confined spaces, including grain engulfment. Through OSHA’s Cooperative Alliance Program, the agency has collaborated with states’ workplace safety officials and industry stakeholders to help reduce the fatal engulfment rate in the U.S. by 17% from 2021 to 2022.

Stress workplace safety during 2024 Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week

Despite these efforts, 36% of reported grain engulfments in the nation in 2022 took workers’ lives because required safeguards were not followed.

“Despite a reduction in grain bin fatalities, far too many people are still being harmed or losing their lives as they work to produce our nation’s food supply,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Jennifer Rous in Denver. “The agricultural industry must never overlook the importance of following all safety procedures to protect workers from the dangers lurking in grain bins, such as engulfments and heat illness, which can quickly lead to tragedy.”

Stand Up 4 Grain Week will launch at the South Dakota Grain Bin Engulfment Prevention Summit, a hybrid in-person and online event where industry leaders and stakeholders will lead safety demonstrations and other discussions. The event is presented by Agtegra Cooperative, Oklahoma State University, OSHA Region 8, Prairie Ag Partners and the South Dakota University Extension OSHA Consultation.

During the week, online learning opportunities – in English and Spanish – will be available on reducing risks and improving safety and health management systems to prevent life-altering injuries and fatalities. Hosted at 11 a.m. Eastern, sessions will cover topics including building a safety culture, strains, sprains and musculoskeletal injuries, ladder safety and heat and extreme temperatures. OSHA encourages ag industry employers and stakeholders to hold local events during Stand Up 4 Grain Week and to share event information on the week-long event’s website.

OSHA’s Grain Handling Safety Standards focus on the grain and feed industry’s six major hazards: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, “struck by,” combustible dust explosions and electrocution hazards. Learn more about OSHA and ag industry safety resources here.