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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

Mr. Jay Hennigh
Laverne, Oklahoma 73848

Dear Mr. Hennigh:

This is in response to your letter regarding grain elevator explosions. We appreciate receiving comments and recommendations on this subject. Please accept my apology for the delay in response.

I, too, am deeply concerned about the recent grain elevator 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.

As the present time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no regulation that requires grain dust to be trapped and returned to the grain. The Environmental Protection Agency does have regulations which limit the amount of grain dust that can be emitted into the atmosphere.

A Technical Exploration Meeting was convened by OSHA on December 30, 1977, to investigate whether or not OSHA and/or EPA regulations contributed to the recent explosions. Those present were in agreement that the dust collecting and controlling elements of grain elevators were not the critical issues. The disposition of the dust after collection, however, requires careful evaluation.

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

If I may be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me.


Eula Bingham
Assistant Secretary
Occupational Safety and Health