OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, U.S. —  The California Department of Industrial Relation's (DIR) Division of Occupational Safety and Health (commonly referred to as Cal/OSHA) joined Federal OSHA in reminding agricultural employers of the hazards of confined spaces including grain handling operations at farms.  The hazard alert comes as part of U.S. President Barack Obama's proclamation of National Farm Safety and Health Week, which goes from Sept.15- 21. 

"Agriculture is one of the largest industries in California," said Christine Baker, director of DIR.  "The state is a leader in workplace safety and health.  This is another area where we are leading the way in raising awareness of a critical safety hazard."  

Cal/OSHA initiated an ongoing Special Emphasis Program on Confined Spaces in January 2012, featuring educational outreach to employers and increased enforcement in general industry, construction and agriculture. 

"Although California has not seen as many grain bin injuries as other states, it is still a huge concern. California, like the nation, supports all efforts to reduce injuries and fatalities at grain handling facilities," said Acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum.