Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

February 16, 1978

Mr. W. E. Lindemann
3901 Rogers Road
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37411

Dear Mr. Lindemann:

Thank you very much for your recent letter expressing concern over the causes of the recent grain elevator explosions and fires. We also are very concerned and have taken action to alert the grain and related industries of the known and suspected hazards associated with grain elevator operations.

Although our investigations being conducted in New Orleans, Galveston and other sites have not been completed, we are taking a close look at the potential sources of ignition that exist in and around grain elevators. Static electricity has always been suspect in dust explosions. We are studying the possible influence of the new high speed belts, dry dust being reintroduced into the elevator from collectors, and other potential sources, of ignition, such as you mentioned in your letter to the editor of the Chattanooga Times.

Your interest in our safety and health program in the workplace and, in particular, the grain industry is very much appreciated. Hopefully, the problems and hazards encountered in this industry will be identified more definitely and corrective action taken in the very near future.

For information, I am forwarding a copy of our recently developed guidelines for grain elevator operations which may be of interest to you.


Eula Bingham
Assistant Secretary
Occupational Safety and Health