AGRIBUSINESS: OSHA Revisits Old Policies

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration pledged to clarify policies regulating activities on small farms.

In 2010, OSHA reported 57 bin engulfments and 31 deaths related to grain storage. In 2011, OSHA released a memorandum to clarify its position on grain storage safety. The following year, OHSA reported only 19 engulfments and eight deaths.

The omnibus appropriations bill pushed OSHA to come back to the issue, with a provision encouraging the agency to work with USDA, before moving forward on redefining and regulating post-harvest activities.

Late last year Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns led a group of Senators in writing OSHA in opposition to its interpretation of law, which the Senators considered overreaching. The letters came after a small farm was fined over $100,000.

Johanns says he is happy OSHA looks to revisit its policy on small farms.

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