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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 20, 1978

Mr. Robert C. Summers
Vice President and General Manager
Gravey Grain
Post Office Box 427-C
Wichita, Kansas 67201

Dear Mr. Summers:

Your recent letter addressed to President Carter was forwarded to this office for response. Your letter concerned the recent grain elevator explosions.

We share your concern over the high financial burden borne by the grain industry and also the high loss of life incurred by the explosions. This agency is exploring all potential causes during our investigations of the accidents. We have also conferred with industry representatives and other knowledgeable groups, organizations and individuals in our efforts to find an effective and sensible solution to the problem.

The consensus at this time is that the collection of dust to prevent its release in the environment as required by the Environmental Protection Agency regulations is not a contributory cause of the explosions. We feel as you do that the handling of the dust after collection is suspect and is being evaluated as a possible contributing factor.

Your comments on our Grain Elevator Industry Hazard Alert are well taken. In promulgating the Alert, it was decided to alert the industry to all hazards involved in grain elevator operations which might also result in injury or loss of life, if not recognized and controlled.

Your letter also contained comments directed toward EPA and FGIS and we are forwarding a copy of your letter to these agencies for their consideration.

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


Bruce Hillenbrand
Acting Director,
Federal Compliance and State Programs