New York farmers provide an important service to the people of New York State. However, these farms also have a duty to keep their employees safe as they work. In order to ensure that farmers are following regulations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will begin conducting random inspections of farms in New York State.
Under this new program, OSHA will randomly inspect farms that employ 11 or more people. OSHA will also inspect farms that set up a temporary labor camp in the last 12 months. However, it has not be determined exactly how many random inspections will be completed. During these inspections, OSHA will be looking to see if a variety of safety regulations are being followed including
- Eye washing stations near corrosive chemicals
- Training programs for employees who are working with animals
- Barriers around manure lagoons
- Tractors with updated and maintained safety equipment including roll-over structures
- Employee training on how to properly use chemicals and equipment
If these safety regulations are being ignored by the farmers, the farms can be fined. In 2012, OSHA gave fines of up to $7,000 to more than 1,300 upstate New York businesses — including farmers.
Businesses, including farms, which fail to follow safety regulations put their employees at risk of a workplace accident. A workplace accident can leave a worker with serious injuries that impact that worker’s ability to make a living. In these situations, workers’ compensation may be available for workers who have been injured. While workers’ compensation can provide a great benefit to employees, it is still more desirable for employers to follow workplace safety regulations from the start and avoid accidents altogether.
Source: Watertown Daily Times, “Webinar gives farmers answers about OSHA dairy farm inspections starting in July,” Ted Booker, April 28, 2014