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OSHA notes farm safety efforts

In the early part of the Obama administration, the Labor Department proposed regulations that would have tightened up on child labor on farms, but after farmers vigorously opposed the new regulations and the White House insisted that Labor withdraw that rule.

Today the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration noted that it is trying to encourage farm safety.

“OSHA has worked diligently with agri-businesses, farm agencies and communities in recent years to increase awareness of the hazards of confined spaces, farm equipment, grain handling and other hazards in the this industry in an effort to promote safety and health on America’s farms,” said David Michaels, assistant secretary of Labor for occupational safety and health.

In 2010, at least 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain engulfments, the highest number on record, but OSHA has published information related to common grain industry hazards and abatement methods, proper bin entry techniques, sweep auger use and many other grain related topics, Michaels said. (See link below.)

The Grain Handling Safety Coalition can also provide all the necessary training materials to train farmers, commercial grain handling employees, youth, rescue workers and more for free or at a very reduced rate, he said.

There are five different safety topics available including an overview of grain handling and storage safety, grain bin entry as well as entanglement, fall and confined space hazards. GHSC also offers “Train the Trainer” courses for companies and communities to have a local resource for training, he said.