OSHA pulls guidance on small farm enforement

A controversial 2011 enforcement guidance by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding small farms has been withdrawn by OSHA, which is part of the U.S. Labor Department.

That guidance allowed OSHA inspectors on farms with fewer than 10 employees. A Nebraska farmer with one non-family employee was recently assessed a fine of over $130-thousand dollars by OSHA.

Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, one of several dozen lawmakers who wrote to OSHA urging it to withdraw the guidance, said it circumvented policy and laws that exempt small farms from OSHA inspection and was another example of “disconnect between Washington bureaucrats and America’s farm families.” Graves identifies himself as “one of the few farmers left in Congress.”

OSHA said it was not their intent to violate the Congressional Rider exempting small farms but to allow for inspection in the event a farmer is buying and selling grain in a separate operation unrelated to actual farming activities.

OSHA’s reply to the lawmakers’ letter

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