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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

March 13, 1978

Honorable Charles Thone
House of Representatives
Washington D. C. 20515

Dear Congressman Thone:

This is in response to your correspondence transmitting a letter from Mr. Keith Wagner, Grain Dealers Mutual Insurance Company, Omaha, Nebraska, regarding grain dust explosions. Please accept my apology for the delay in response.

I, too, am deeply concerned about the recent grain explosions and fires which have caused high loss of life and property. Although our investigations of these catastrophes are not yet completed, I am hopeful the causes can be determined and remedial solutions be initiated as quickly as possible. OSHA is presently working closely with the USDA, the grain industry, Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, and State and local officials, in order to gather all pertinent information on grain elevators for evaluation and appropriate dissemination to the industry and other interested parties.

Mr. Wagner's allegation that the EPA regulations contributed to the recent explosions has been investigated. A Technical Exploratory Meeting was convened by OSHA on December 30, 1977. In attendance were several leading experts from the grain elevator industry as well as top executives from OSHA, EPA and Agriculture. Those present were in agreement that the dust collecting and controlling elements of grain elevators were not the problems. The disposition of the dust after collection, however, requires careful evaluation.

We appreciate hearing from knowledgeable people who are familiar with the grain industry. Mr. Wagner's comments and recommendations will be forwarded to our technical staff for review.

For your information, enclosed is a copy of the Grain Elevator Industry Hazard Alert booklet that we have sent to the industry.

If I may be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me. Pursuant to your request, the enclosure is herewith returned.


Eula Bingham
Assistant Secretary
Occupational Safety and Health