Back in January, we posted a breaking news story here on the OSHA Law Update blog about a major settlement of an OSHA enforcement action renewing the grain industry’s right to have employees work inside grain bins with energized sweep augers under certain specified conditions — aka, Ten Sweep Auger Safety Principles.
Since the settlement became a final order of the OSH Review Commission in January, federal OSHA’s national office in Washington, DC issued a May 3, 2013 Enforcement Memorandum to all of the Agency’s Regional Offices that memorialized the terms of the settlement and turned them into a national enforcement policy. Specifically, the Enforcement Memo clarified what engineering and work practice controls to eliminate or mitigate the danger to employees from the moving parts of a sweep auger that are acceptable to OSHA to allow employees to work inside the bin with the auger while it is operating.
Grain and Feed Milling Technology ran a featured article in the July/August 2013 edition of its online journal, authored by Eric J. Conn, the Head of Epstein Becker & Green’s national OSHA Practice Group, detailing the roller coaster ride that has been OSHA’s enforcement policy in connection with work inside grain bins with energized sweep augers, and explaining the current enforcement policy, which does provide real clarity as to the conditions that OSHA considers to be acceptable for that work.
Here is a link to the full article in Grain and Feed Milling Technology Magazine.