New standards on how to handle benzene, how to safely operate grain facilities and how to keep adequate records on maintenance become effective June 1, according to Doug McVey, administrator of the Utah Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

McVey and his staff have held hearings and could make some changes in the proposed standards to meet the concerns of the dozen people who asked questions and gave comments.The standards on benzene and grain handling came from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the standard on record-keeping is a revision to reduce the paperwork that 4,000 employers are required to keep when they maintain their equipment.

McVey said that in 1973 Utah officials elected to administer provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, but when the federal agency authorizes a new standard the state agency has a reasonable time to adopt it as part of its program. Standards adopted by the state must meet or exceed the federal standards.

The standard on grain handling affects 55 companies employing about 1,000 workers and covers grain elevators, feed mills, flour mills, rice mills, dust pelletizing plants, dry corn mills, soybean flaking operations and dry grinding operations of soycake.

Neil Anderson, manager of education and consultation for the division, said there haven't been many problems in grain facilities in Utah, but the potential is always there for grain dust fires and explosions. The new standards also govern the procedures necessary when someone goes into a grain bin because there is a possibility of an oxygen deficiency.

Nobody provided any comments on the benzene handling standard because it has been discussed at great length ever since the federal agency proposed it several months ago, McVey said.