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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 31, 1978

Mr. P. H. Batchelar
Manager-Market Development
Power Transmission Division
Uniroyal, Inc.
Oxford Management and Research Center
Middlebury, Connecticut 06749

Dear Mr. Batchelar:

This is in response to your letter dated January 18, 1978, addressed to Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall, concerning the recent grain elevator explosions. Your letter was forwarded to this office for response.

The AP wire story you mentioned referred to our Grain Elevator Industry Hazard Alert (copy enclosed). It urges employers to take immediate appropriate actions to safeguard their employees. You will find on page 4 of the Alert that slipping belts on bucket elevators and other conveyors and slipping V-belts are indicated as major fire ignition sources in grain elevators.

Thank you for forwarding the news release and descriptive literature which indicates that a non-friction alternative drive system is available to employers desiring to eliminate the potential hazards of slipping belts. This type system will be given consideration in the development of safety standards for this industry. We are currently working with the industry, Federal and State officials, union officials and other knowledgeable individuals to learn more about grain dust hazards. Hopefully, our efforts will result in determining the causes of these tragedies and bring an early solution for their elimination.

Thank you for your concern in this matter. Your suggestion to discuss this matter in greater detail will be accepted in the near future, when our investigation of these explosions has been completed.

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


Eula Bingham
Assistant Secretary
Occupational Safety and Health