For Pennsylvania employees who are required to work in or around grain storage facilities, grain engulfment is a deadly hazard that they face. If a worker becomes smothered by grain in a storage facility, he or she could suffer serious injuries or even death if rescue does not happen fast enough. From April 9 to April 13, the National Grain and Feed Association along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration worked together to raise awareness about the dangers.
Out-of-condition grain is the number one cause of engulfment. During the unloading process, flowing grain can act like quicksand and fully bury employees in less than 22 seconds. Bridged grain, or when grain becomes clumped together, becomes dangerous when it begins to fall into empty space, as it can quickly trap anyone who may be underneath. When avalanche engulfment occurs, a pile of grain can suddenly collapse on a worker, potentially resulting in suffocation.