“The Department of Labor’s decision to withdraw enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s small farm grain bin guidance is a positive step forward for agriculture. The American Farm Bureau Federation is optimistic that this action will result in OSHA’s compliance with the small farm exemption as required by law,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman after the agency made the announcement. “Farm safety is a top-of-mind priority for our farmers. Throughout the country, state and county Farm Bureaus conduct safety training programs and work to ensure that everyone who is working on a farm is trained and safe. We not only appreciate OSHA’s concern with grain bin safety, we are committed to grain bin and farm safety. But we also believe that the key to improving farm safety is a collaborative, cooperative process that was not helped by OSHA’s enforcement under the just-rescinded 2011 guidance document that was not consistent with the law,” Stallman added.
Stallman noted the issue had generated a good deal of concern both on the farm and in Congress, “Farm Bureau appreciates the efforts on this issue by the House Education and Workforce Committee, including Worker Protections Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-Mich). We also commend Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) for coordinating bipartisan letters drawing attention to this important issue. We encourage DOL to reach out to farm groups to help develop additional farm safety programs. Preventative measures would better serve OSHA’s and the farm community’s shared goal of farm safety.”