Family of Landon Gran continues to push for grain bin safety measures
NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Five months ago, Michele Gran shared her story and her efforts pushing for change after the loss of her son, Landon Gran, in a grain bin incident.
The Gran family is continuing their work in hopes of preventing grain bin incidents while honoring Landon Gran’s memory and legacy.
“I’m not mad at God, my faith is just as strong as ever. If I had to choose, I would’ve chose someone like Landon," said Michele Gran.
Landon Gran passed away on August 14, 2019, in a grain bin incident at a Norseland area farm after getting caught in a piece of running equipment.
“He had the whole world, whole life before him and to have it cut that short; was a tragedy,” said Gran.
Michele Gran has high hopes on what she wants to be changed, starting at the federal level.
Each year since 1976, the OSHA Appropriations Bill has contained an additional provision that Michele Gran has expressed concern with, a provision that she says prevented investigation of the incident.
“It’s simply that the Congress has put a rider on the funding for federal OSHA that basically says you may not use any money that we’ve appropriated to you to enforce the law, as it applies to farming operations with 10 or fewer employees,” Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink explained.
The provision prohibits OSHA from spending funds on the enforcement of OSHA rules, regulations and standards for farming operations with ten or fewer non-family employees with no exceptions to this prohibition, such as fatality.
“I believe the definition of small farming needs to be changed. It shouldn’t go by the number of employees you have. I said laws and regulations could be on the number of acres you harvest, the number of bushels you can store on your farm or the income of your operation,” said Gran.
Although it takes time to see change at a federal level, Michele Gran’s voice and Landon’s legacy are making waves across the state.
Shortly after the incident, Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake) and Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato), along with Thom Petersen, Minnesota Department of Agriculture commissioner, visited Michele Gran to discuss grain bin safety protocols she was calling for in late August, referring to them as, “Landon’s Law."
“Well I think like any family that’s grieving, you would want to prevent that from happening to the next family, so we’ve been working with them on legislation that will hopefully provide safety improvements around Minnesota and reduce the number of grain bin incidents,” said Frentz.
A bill has been drafted and will be introduced on February 11. It will be similar to the voluntary program that helped fund tractor rollover kits and includes fall protection systems, controls to prevent contact with an auger or other moving parts and dust collection systems.
“The legislation proposes that the state fund this, given that we have a budget surplus, I think it’s a good use of taxpayer money,” said Frentz.
State officials are teaming up to address safety on the farm.
“The Department (of Labor and Industry) is working with the Department of Agriculture to focus on occupation safety and health in general to identify various organizations within the ag community who are similarly concerned about the injury and fatality rates in agriculture and, therefore, we see the Department of Agriculture as a strong partner,” said Leppink.
A member of the Grain Handling Safety Coalition out of Illinois said the first step in avoiding grain bin incidents is precautionary action.
“Nobody enters the bin unless all equipment is shut off or you have other appropriate safeguards in place and that you always have somebody there with you, always, always, always, have an observer,” Grain Handling Safety Coalition Secretary Catherine Rylatt stated.
The Grain Handling Safety Coalition provides training sessions for communities and workplaces.
For more information, visit the Grain Handling Safety Coalition’s website.
Copyright 2020 KEYC. All rights reserved.