OSHA has put the Wisconsin agricultural industry on notice – we’re inspecting farms. Currently, OSHA has a Local Enforcement Program (LEP) for grain operations and are on year of a dairy LEP. A common question is “can they come to my farm for an inspection? And if yes, what does an OSHA inspection involve.” The first step to answering these questions means understanding more about OSHA.
OSHA and Employer Responsibilities
If you employ 1 or more persons, you have the legal responsibility to assure safe and healthful working conditions under the William-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. An appropriation rider to the Act prevents the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from spending any funds to issue or enforce any regulations that apply to any person who farms and employs 10 or fewer employees.
This amendment does not eliminate the requirement that an employer comply with the act, since the amendment does not eliminate rules or regulations. It only states that OSHA cannot spend funds to prescribe, issue, administer or enforce the agricultural regulations for employers of 10 or fewer people, except for those who have temporary labor camps. Nor does the amendment eliminate the possibility that an employee could use the regulations in a lawsuit against an employer. For this reason, all employers should comply with the act and provide their employees with a safe and healthful place to work.
Three general responsibilities as an employer for your employees’ safety are:
- To comply with the agricultural safety standards;
- To comply with record keeping and other reporting responsibilities, such as reporting accidents, posting of a citation, etc.; and
- To comply with the general duty clause.
Revisions in OSHA rules and regulations are probable as the U.S. Department of Labor determines the need for and implements additional standards. Complete rules and regulations can be accessed at www.osha.gov.
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OSHA Recordkeeping Standard
Are you current on your OSHA Form 300 and posting of form 300A? Not sure if this applies to your operation? Have you reviewed these incidents to improve your employee safety and health program? Didn’t know that there was an OSHA reporting requirement?
Do I need to meet OSHA’s recordkeeping requirement?
If you’re an agricultural operation with 11 or more hired employees, you need to follow Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1904 -“Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. This standard requires these actions:
- As an employer you must report to OSHA any workplace incident resulting in a fatality or the in-patient hospitalization of 3 or more employees within 8 hours. The report must be made orally—not by e-mail or fax. To contact OSHA you may call or go in-person to your regional OSHA office or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742); TTY 1-877-889-5627.
- Keep injury or illness records. Form 300 and 300A are standardized forms from OSHA to help you meet this requirement. A pdf and excel version of this information is available on OSHA’s website here.
OSHA Required Poster
OSHA 1903.2 states:
Each employer shall post and keep posted a notice or notices, to be furnished by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, informing employees of the protections and obligations provided for in the Act, and that for assistance and information, including copies of the Act and of specific safety and health standards, employees should contact the employer or the nearest office of the Department of Labor. Such notice or notices shall be posted by the employer in each establishment in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted. Each employer shall take steps to insure that such notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by other material.
Posters are available at your area OSHA office for free. The citation for not displaying this poster is $500.00.
WisCon - Safety and Health Consultation Services
WisCon offers on-site consultation services to assist Wisconsin employers in meeting the obligations and responsibilities covered under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. The WisCon Program is a part of the State Laboratory of Hygiene at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in conjunction with the US Department of Labor.
- FHI General Safety
- FHI Tractor
- FHI Wagon and Other Hauling Equipment
- FHI Portable Augers and Elevators
- FHI Tillage and Planting Equipment
- FHI Harvesting Equipment
- FHI Manure Storage
- FHI Electrical
- FHI General Inspection for Dairy Facilities
- FHI Crop and Feed Storage Areas
- FHI Crop Chemical Storage Areas
- FHI Dairy Barns and Milking Facilities
- FHI Chemical Application Equipment
- FHI Anhydrous Ammonia Equipment