Are you intimidated or confused by OSHA’s requirements for recording and reporting incidents? Maybe you just had an incident and aren’t sure what to next. First off, take a deep breath. It will be ok. This post is meant to start answering your questions about recordables and reportables. We’ll break down both and help you understand who and what is required for each.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 570 people died from work-related injuries in agriculture in 2011. That’s 7 times the fatality rate for all workers in the private sector! Safety is an important topic in the agricultural industry. That being said, it’s no wonder OSHA has regulations that are meant to keep people safe specifically in agriculture. While some farms are exempt from OSHA regulations, did you know there are a few requirements that apply across the board? No matter if you employ 10 or less people total, or only employ immediate family, OSHA requires that both exempt and non-exempt operations abide by these rules.
Editor's Note: Updated Dec 18, 2017. OSHA pushed back the deadline from Dec 15 to Dec 31, and has said they will not take enforcement action on those who meet the Dec 31 deadline (see source here). Starting Jan 1, 2018, OSHA will no longer accept 2016 data.
Topics: OSHA law & compliance
Why would a big corporation’s safety culture model have any relevance to safety in Agriculture? If you are not familiar with the DuPont Bradley Curve, I strongly suggest learning more about it as it can shape how you think about safety first and its effect on productivity, quality of work, the work environment and profitability. The Bradley Curve shows an evolution of an organization's safety culture. This model allows you to place your organizations' culture along the curve and give insights to the vision of zero injuries.
Many people may assume that agriculture in general is exempt from OSHA standards. The truth is agriculture is not exempt from OSHA. However, there is a small farms exemption. Understanding the exemption could be vital to your operation. Before we get into the exemption, lets first examine the General Duty Clause as it sets up the framework for understanding who is and who isn’t covered.
If you have a dairy operation in Wisconsin or upstate New York, or a pork production facility in Minnesota, or a feedlot in the plains states, you know that OSHA has been looking at you with greater intensity. Other parts of the country are seeing similar increases in inspection activity. States with their own OSHA agencies have regulations that are more strict than those of federal OSHA. With Agriculture being the last high-risk industry that they haven’t targeted for significant improvements, it’s only logical that they would go here next. Additionally, it is now commonplace for a disgruntled former employee to report specific infractions to these agencies in retaliation for perceived unfairness or mistreatment. If you aren't compliant, just think of that inspector going through your operation with a checklist, ringing up expenses to you faster than a teenage girl using dad's credit card to shop for the prom.
Calculating an OSHA Penalty
Earlier this week, we discussed the first fundamental reason for having someone on your staff—even if it’s you—dedicated to safety. Having a single point-person fulfill this role is critical to maintaining the clear, consistent communication that optimizes safety among your employees.
If you’re running an agribusiness, you probably rely on a few key people for their expert opinion or advice, like your vet or crop specialist. Now that you’ve decided to ramp up the operation’s ag safety program, you might be looking to expand that list of trusted advisers to include a safety director or safety consultant.
What do driving ATVs, handling livestock pharmaceuticals and operating a dump trailer all have in common?
None of them has a formal OSHA safety standard.