Friday, September 12, 2014

OSHA Retools Guidelines on Small Farm Regulations

OSHA has formally clarified that it cannot regulate family farms with 10 or fewer employees and recognizes that post-harvest activities integral to farming operations–including drying and storing grain–are exempt from federal regulation.

The guideline comes in response to controversy over OSHA’s inspection of small farms and levying
high fines based on a memo issues in June 2011. While it was intended to clarify to inspectors where they were allowed and not allowed to conduct inspections, many small farms were levied high fines due to the confusion over the language in the memo.

Since 1976, an appropriations rider has kept OSHA from using appropriated funding to conduct enforcement activities on farms with 10 or fewer non-family employees that have not maintained a temporary labor camp within the preceding 12 months.

The new memo also defines farming operations and explains operations that are not considered a small farm.

Read the updated OSHA memo here.