To view this as a web page, click here



Four Self-Audits for Small Facilities

OSHA usually does not audit small businesses, defined as employers with 10 or fewer employees. (See the full definition in the OSHA 1904.1 standard.)

Many small elevators fall into this group, but that doesn’t exempt them from providing a safe workplace. With limited budgets and few employees, there are special challenges to keeping everyone safe at a smaller facility.

It is up to you to make sure that employees are informed about the risks and know and can identify the hazards.

Here are four areas to consider where the risk for injury and death can be greater in smaller facilities than in larger ones.

Use it to help perform a self-audit.

1. Entrapment in grain while working in a silo, bin, tank, or in a trench.

  • Look for bridged or hung up grain. Make sure that reclaim systems are locked out, if someone is in the bin, tank, or silo.
  • Be sure that your employees are old enough to work at your facility. Many states set a minimum age.
  • Working in a bin or railcar that has been fumigated can kill you. Look for the fumigation placards. Know what warning odors are associated with fumigants and how to perform emergency first aid.
  • Working near an open screw conveyor or auger can catch your clothes and pull you into the conveyor. Augers also can contribute to entrapment in flowing grain.
  • Do not work alone in bins, silos, tanks, or trenches.

2. Lack of understanding the elements of a fire or explosion and how to mitigate the risks.

  • Test employee understanding of the components of a fire or explosion. Many people do not appreciate how explosive grain dust can be under certain circumstances. Make sure employees know the risks.
  • Keep on track with a scheduled housekeeping plan. Employees must know the acceptable levels of fugitive dust and where to look for dust accumulation.
  • Adhere to smoking and hot work restrictions.

3. Lack of the necessary equipment to perform tasks.

  • Don’t work with improper or poorly maintained equipment.
  • Understand electrical equipment restrictions, for example, why you need to use equipment rated for a Class II, G location.
  • Make sure test equipment for oxygen or hazardous chemicals is available.
  • Make sure sensors for air testing are up to date.

4. Working at a river or port location.

  • Wear a well-fitting personal flotation device.
  • Have life rings handy for rescue efforts.
  • Know the phone numbers for your barge service, and have an emergency plan.

OSHA Small Business Handbook
One of the best guides for a self- audit is OSHA’s free Small Business Handbook. The entire book is excellent. Be sure to read the entire handbook, but turn to the pages with checklists first.

Don’t worry, you won’t have half of the items listed, but it is a systematic way to get started on your self-audit, and it already is researched and formatted for you. You just saved yourself a week of work by using this tool.

Source: Lynn Larsen, president of Safety Solutions Inc., a safety consulting firm in Christine, ND; 701-261-9587.


This Safety Tip of the Week is sponsored by: CTEC AG.



Follow Our Safety News on Twitter

Receive Our Safety E-News Twice a Month

Safety Tip of the Week Archives


Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

800-728-7511 | Website: