Grain Handling Facilities

A grain handling facility stores and moves raw and processed grain and grain products.

Grain Handling Facilities

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What are the hazards associated with grain handling facilities?

Grain handling facilities (e.g., grain silos) have the potential for engulfment and developing an oxygen-deficient or other type of hazardous atmosphere. Because grain dust is also combustible, the space inside a grain handling facility can develop an explosive atmosphere.

What can I do to protect myself?

Employees at grain silos must never attempt to "walk down" grain in an attempt to facilitate the movement of grain within the facility. Employees should never enter a grain storage structure unless the atmosphere has been tested for oxygen-deficiency and combustible and toxic atmospheres. Before any hot work (e.g., welding) is attempted, a hot work permit must be obtained from the employer that verifies conditions are acceptable for this type of work.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Training and Outreach Services

Presentations are available for downloading on these related topics: confined spaces; hazard communication; lockout/tagout; noise; scaffolds; toxic and hazardous substances; exit routes, emergency action and fire prevention plans; respiratory protection; and welding and cutting.

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. 

Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

Safety and Health Programs

The following example programs may also be downloaded and customized to fit an individual workplace: emergency action plan; confined space program; respiratory protection program; hazard communication program; lockout/tagout program; and hearing conservation program.

A-Z Safety and Health Topics

Related resources can be found on the A-Z topics pages for combustible dusts, confined spaceshazard communication, lockout/tagout, noiserespiratory protection, emergency action plans, and welding and cutting

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.


Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards for grain handling facilities in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry

Other standards that apply to grain handling facilities include:

General Industry

Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more?

Industry Guides

Compliance Documents

Technical Assistance

Inquiries about workplace safety and health requirements can be submitted to Ask OSH through the online form, by email to, or by phone at 919-707-7876.