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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 14, 1978

Mr. David Phillips
H.M. Senior Principal Inspector
of Factories
The Triad, Stanley Road Bootle
Merseyside L20 3PG
Liverpool, England

Dear Mr. Phillips:

This is in response to your letter of December 29, 1977, to Mr. F.C. Arrioale of the City of New York, Board of Education. Mr. Arrioale forwarded your letter to us for response.

We experienced seven fire and explosions in grain elevators in less than two months which resulted in sixty three deaths and high property damage. Our investigations into causal factors have not been completed as of this date. On January 6, 1978, we developed a Grain Elevator Industry Hazard Alert booklet which was widely distributed to the grain industry and other interested organizations in the United States (copy enclosed).

After completion of our investigations and evaluation of our findings, it is intended that we share this information with industry and others concerned with grain elevator hazards.

A Literature Survey of Dust Explosions in Grain Handling Facilities: Causes and Prevention was published by Iowa State University in 1976, it is quite informative. We suggest that you correspond with Mr. Daniel J. Zefferano, Dean, Iowa State University, 201 Bearshear Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011. Mr. Zefferano may also be able to recommend other sources of information on grain elevator hazards.

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact me.


John K. Barto, Chief
Division of Occupational Safety Programming