Risk Management, Safety

Electrical Safety for Grain and Processing Facilities


GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning!  


$495 for members
$795 for non-members.  

Course Description: This professional development course focuses on electrical safety for grain processing facilities. It will familiarize students with different topics relating to electrical safety, such as how electrical safety relates to the hazards of fires and explosions in grain facilities; the different safety standards for lighting, motors and equipment; and safety in the different areas of a grain elevator. It will provide information about performing an audit, choosing electrical contractors, understanding repairs and how inspectors work and familiarize students with “intrinsically safe” systems.

Course Goals: This course aims to provide students with a basic understanding of electrical safety requirements for grain elevators and processing facilities so that they understand general electrical standards in a grain facility, the requirements for electric motors and lighting in a grain facility, the different standards for safety, who creates the standards and why they exist, and how to perform an audit, how to identify the classifications in their facility and how to hire qualified electrical contractors.

Target Audience: This course is designed for industry professionals and current students in related fields who are interested in the basics of safety in grain elevator and processing facilities.


Douglas E. Forst  CMC Industrial ElectronicsSee Bio

Mr. Forst started CMC Industrial Electronics in 1997 with a mission to “protect lives and human property.” Doug has 35 years of experience in electronics manufacturing, specializing in industrial controls. He has been active in the grain processing industry since the early 1980s and has products installed in facilities all across North America. His expertise includes the design, manufacture and deployment of hazard monitoring systems used in grain handling facilities. Doug is a long time member of GEAPS and is the chair of the Distance Education Program Oversight Committee.

The Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – Fires and Explosions
The objective of this lecture is to familiarize students with the causes of fires and explosions that occur in grain facilities and how they relate to electrical safety. The topics covered include: results of a grain dust explosion, conditions that must be present for an explosion to occur, primary ingredients of a grain dust explosion, electrical systems and how they contribute to explosions and basic steps that can be taken to prevent an explosion.

Lecture 2 – Electrical Standards for Grain Processing Facilities
In this lecture, students will learn about electrical standards for grain facilities. The lesson will cover: terms related to electrical standards, who is responsible for setting the standards for electrical equipment in grain facilities and classification systems that determine the requirements for electrical equipment. It will also touch on differences in world standards and how to identify certified products.

Week 2Details

Lecture 3 – What Are the Classifications in Your Facility?
The objective of lecture three is to help students become familiar with identifying the electrical classification of different areas of a grain facility. By the end of this lecture, students will be able to identify the factors used to determine classification, know who can legally determine the classification used, the classifications that are present at their facility and the classifications of equipment that can be used in their facility.

Lecture 4 – Protection Methods
This lecture will discuss how standards are applied to ensure safety and how products are marked to indicate their level of protection. Students will learn about the methods used in the design of electrical equipment to meet the specification for hazardous locations, the protection each of the methods provide and wiring systems that are used in grain facilities. By the end of this lecture, students will know what kind of equipment meets safety requirements and what type of protection can be used for different products.

Week 3Details

Lecture 5 – Electrical Motors
This lecture will cover the safety requirements for electric motors in a grain facility, show how motors can be a hazard and go over the types of motors available. Students will learn the specific design criteria needed to make an electric motor suitable for a grain facility, how motors are marked to indicate the locations where they can be used and the special requirements for facilities that repair motors for grain facilities.

Lecture 6 – Lighting
The objective of this lecture is to familiarize students with the electrical requirements for lighting in a grain facility. Topics include: how lighting can be a hazard, types of lighting suitable for hazardous locations, how to select the correct type of lighting, crucial issues when selecting a lighting fixture, how to choose the correct fixtures to reduce installation and operating costs and fixture maintenance.

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Intrinsically Safe Systems
This lecture covers the meaning of “intrinsically safe” and how intrinsically safe equipment can be used in grain facilities. Students will learn about the following: identifying the types of equipment that can be manufactured using intrinsically safe principles, the specific requirements for wiring and installing intrinsically safe systems and who should be installing an intrinsically safe system. Examples of installation will be provided to help students better understand the system.

Lecture 8 – Performing an Audit
This lecture aims to acquaint students with the process of completing an audit of an existing facility. They will learn to determine the classification of each area of the facility, verify that the installed equipment meets the class requirements and develop an action plan to bring the unsafe areas into compliance. Students will become comfortable with performing an audit within their facility, using information provided in previous lectures to identify the types of equipment installed and areas of their facility that may require remedial action.

Week 5Details

ecture 9 – Hiring an Electrical Contractor
This lecture will discuss how to select an electrical contractor to perform work in a grain facility. Students will learn to determine if an electrical engineer is required, if an electrical contractor is qualified, and about the different classes of electricians available. The basic questions to ask before hiring an electrical contractor and the permits and inspections that are required will also be covered.

Lecture 10 – Repairs and Inspections
This lecture familiarizes students with the permitting process, how electrical inspectors are trained, supervising repairs to electrical equipment and assuring that the repairs do not compromise the electrical rating of the equipment. It will outline the basics of the permitting process, who is permitted to work on a facility’s electrical system and describe the special training requirements for contractors before they begin working at a facility.