PORTLAND, OREGON, U.S. — At the Exchange 2011 opening workshop, "Bin Sweeps and Bin Entry: Tackling an Industry Challenge," the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) will address some of the most challenging grain-industry topics in years. GEAPS Exchange is Feb. 26 through March 1 at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon, U.S.

This morning-long program, set for Feb. 27, will attempt to provide as much clarity as possible about the industry's response to OSHA's interpretations regarding the operation of bin sweeps and bin entry regulations.

"We are not going to be able to advise people on what they can or can't do, or what type of equipment to use. But we are going to state what the issues are and try to put them into context, so that your company can make better-informed decisions," said Kathy Reading, chair of the workshop program for GEAPS Educational Programming Committee. "It's going to be a very comprehensive discussion."

This workshop, open to all GEAPS delegates at no additional charge, will have four components:

• An insurance industry perspective: Chuck Hammond, director of loss control with Nationwide Agribusiness, will discuss bin sweep accidents and injuries, and their costs to companies and individuals.

• An overview of the situation: Jess McCluer, director of regulatory affairs with the National Grain & Feed Association, will discuss OSHA's interpretations and what they mean to the grain industry, how federal and state OSHA jurisdictions differ, and the latest industry developments.

• How the grain industry is responding: Two industry leaders will discuss how their companies have responded to the situation. They are Kevin Danner, corporate environmental, health & safety director with West Central; and Greg Rowe, senior director of operations with Perdue AgriBusiness. In addition, John Lee, director of safety, environmental and health services with the Illinois Grain & Feed Association, will show photographs of how some companies are trying to improve bin sweep safety.

• An overview of the equipment: Ten companies have been selected to briefly discuss their bin sweep equipment.

These companies include: Airlanco, Brock Grain Systems, GSI Group, Laidig Systems Inc., Milestock, North American Equipment Co., Sioux Steel Co., Springland Mfg., Sudenga Industries Inc. and Sukup Manufacturing Co.