Employee Onboarding, Safety

Entry Level Safety

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 Goals: This course will provide basic-level information about how to stay safe and healthy while working at grain or processing facilities. The course will identify the main risks, discuss essential precautions, emphasize the need to learn and follow company and facility safety and health policies and point out the importance of personal accountability.

Target Audience: This course is for new employees or those with limited experience who work in grain and grain processing facilities, or for grain and processing industry workers with minimal safety training. It also will serve as a basic-level refresher course for more experienced employees.


Mark Daniels  CHS Inc. See Bio

Mark has served as corporate safety director at CHS for more than 30 years. He has also served the grain industry as chairman of the American Feed Industry Association’s safety committee, the GEAPS/National Grain & Feed Association’s former safety committee and was GEAPS International president in 2008-2009.

Kevin Danner  West CentralSee Bio

Kevin Danner is the Regulatory Compliance Director for Landus Cooperative, with headquarters based in Ames, Iowa. Danner served GEAPS in multiple roles at both the chapter and International levels. He was GEAPS International President from 2005-06. Danner joined GEAPS in 1989 and remains a member of the Greater Iowa Chapter. Kevin is past chair and continues to serve on the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) Safety, Health and Environmental Quality Committee, NGFA-NAEGA Joint Agroterrorism-Facility Security Committee, and member of the National Fire Protection Association.

Brandon Dills  Co-Mark Inc. See Bio

Brandon Dills is a 1989 graduate of Hutchinson Community College and a 1991 graduate of the Kansas State University School of Milling Science. Brandon served in the milling industry for more than eight years and has worked safety and compliance in the grain industry since 1999. He assists grain elevators in complying with rules and regulations associated with OSHA, DOT, EPA, FDA, Homeland Security, and other local, state and federal agencies. He has been active in the GEAPS Great Plains chapter since 2000, served on the national GEAPS/NGFA safety committee and the Host Advisory Council for the 2010 GEAPS Exchange in Wichita, Kan.

Julie Waltz  RCI SafetySee Bio

Julie has been educating people about safety planning and emergency response for over 25 years. She currently works for RCI Safety where her primary responsibility is helping clients with safety, health, environmental quality and regulatory issues. Julie has a Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University where she majored in industrial technology with an emphasis in education, communication and safety. She has served as commissioner and chair of the Iowa Emergency Response Commission for eight years and is past president of the Greater Iowa GEAPS chapter.

Derek Farmer  Olsson AssociatesSee Bio

Derek Farmer is a graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University graduate 2005. Derek has worked for over 11yrs in the safety field with over 7yrs in the agriculture industry. He has played key roles as corporate auditor in some world-class safety programs. He worked as an environmental health and safety consultant for 2yrs prior to going back to work for Alcoa in the metals fabrication industry with multi-site responsibilities. Derek now leads a team of EHS professionals to implement and track programs for newly acquired facilities near St. Louis.

Mary Carper  Zeeland Farm Services Inc.See Bio

Mary Carper serves as the Corporate Safety Manager for Zeeland Farm Services, Inc. and their subsidiary and affiliates, which includes two ethanol plants, Nebraska Corn Processing, LLC and Pennsylvania Grain Processing, LLC; several alternative fuel stations that market ethanol under the name of Anew; and a new Grain Elevator that is being constructed on a 465 acre plot in Ithaca, Michigan. Mary has a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Safety and Health from Grand Valley State University and a Master’s Degree in Audiology from Western Michigan University. In 2010 Mary became a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). Mary has been a member of GEAPS since 2004 and currently serves as a committee member for the Agricultural Safety and Rescue Division of the Michigan Safety Conference.

The Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – What are the Hazards? What are the Rules?
This introductory lecture will outline the main hazards at grain and grain processing facilities and discuss some general guidelines and regulations for staying healthy and safe — and keeping your job. It will also point out how safety rules vary at each company or facility, and emphasize the importance of knowing the rules at your facility.
Lecturer: Mark Daniels

Lecture 2 – Personal Safety: The Fundamentals
Learning the hazards and understanding a company’s safety rules is essential. Employees working in grain and grain processing facilities need to take some responsibility for their own well-being, too. Using common sense, knowledge and eyes and ears are crucial parts of the job. What is behavioral safety and how does it affect you?
Lecturer: Mark Daniels

Week 2Details

Lecture 3 – An Impossible Task? Measuring the Value of Safety
What is it worth to stay safe? If you factor in human life and personal well-being, there is no good answer. However, it’s important at least to consider the question because the financial implications are huge. This lecture will examine the value of working safely and how much accidents and injuries can cost employers and employees.
Lecturer: Kevin Danner

Lecture 4 – Lockout/Tagout
This lecture will discuss what lockout and tagout mean, how they differ and how important they are to on-the-job safety for individuals and co-workers. It will point out the various equipment and situations where lockout/tagout applies, using specific examples. Electrical equipment, legs, conveying equipment and group lockouts or use of equipment that can be started at multiple locations will be discussed. The lecture will also address lockout/tagout procedures and certification.
Lecturer: Julie Waltz

Week 3Details

Lecture 5 – Confined-Space Entry, Safe Bin Entry and the Hazards of Engulfment
This three-part lecture will explore what “confined space” means, how to safely enter grain bins and types of engulfment. Session discussion topics will include when it is safe (and unsafe) to enter a confined space, what to do and be aware of before entering and confined space hazards. The lecture will also cover the potential hazards of entering a grain bin, including engulfment and the checklists to perform before entering. Finally, participants will learn about conditions under which engulfment sometimes occurs, behaviors that can lead to an engulfment and what can help in a rescue situation.
Lecturer: Julie Waltz

Lecture 6 – Don’t Fall!
People working in grain facilities can get seriously hurt or even die by tripping and falling. But the risks are minimized if you stay alert, recognize potential hazards, use common sense, follow rules, take all precautions and use the proper equipment. This lecture will discuss the hazards of walking and working surfaces, as well as working from elevated places such as roofs, beams, railcars, barges and ladders. It will also cover the use of fall-arrest systems, work-positioning and anchorage points for tie-off.
Lecturer: Derek Farmer

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Dust Explosions and Hazard Monitoring Systems
Grain dust explosions can be catastrophic and deadly. This two-part lecture will discuss the potential severity of explosions, the conditions that cause them and how employees can help control the conditions before a disaster occurs. Hazard-monitoring systems will also be explored.
Lecturer: Derek Farmer

Lecture 8 – Electrical Safety, Chemical Safety
You will learn about the main electrical hazards of working in a grain or processing facility, and how the hazards can be avoided. It will discuss arc flash, pointing out its dangers and how to make sure it does not occur. The lecture will also provide basic information about the main types of chemicals allowed at facilities, how to avoid exposure and what Personal Protective Equipment (or PPE) is and how people may need training to use it.
Lecturer: Mary Carper

Week 5Details

Lecture 9 – Mobile-Equipment Safety
This lecture will discuss how to work safely with and around mobile equipment, including Bobcats, pay-loaders and forklifts. It will also cover the hazards of working with hoisted loads and lifting equipment.
Lecturer: Kevin Danner

Lecture 10 – Rail, Barge and Waterfront Safety
Grain facilities are often linked closely to railroads and waterways, calling for specialized training, care and vigilance. This lecture will discuss the primary ways to avoid hazards and stay safe while working with railcars, barges and ships.
Lecturer: Brandon Dills