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AFBF applauds USDOL’s policy change regarding grain bins on small farms

From the AFBF Public Relations Team & Kathleen M. Dutro, IFB Public Relations Team

The U.S. Department of Labor has decided to rescind a controversial guidance document that provides authority for enforcement activities regarding grain bins on small farms that are exempt under law.

“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,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “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.”

While Farm Bureau has always made farm safety a priority, the OSHA memo overreaches agency authority and circumvents clear legislative language, according to Farm Bureau.

“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,” Stallman said.

“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improving farm safety is a collaborative, cooperative process that was not helped by OSHA’s enforcement under the just-rescinded 2011 guidance document that was not consistent with the law.”

“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,” he added.

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