Health & Safety, OSHA, Uncategorized

Put Employees’ Safety First

From DairyHerd.com, “Put employees’ safety first” by Megan Pierce, Associate Editor, 7 Apr 2011.

Link to: DAIRY FARM SAFETY AND OSHA—APPROACHES FOR EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT AND WORKER TRAINING by David I. Douphrate, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, School of Public Health, San Antonio Regional Campus, and High Plains and Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and SafetyColorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

Farming is a dangerous job. But did you know that agriculture is counted among the most-dangerous industries and it accounts for a large percentage of fatalities and injuries?

Injury and death result primarily from machinery use and livestock incidents, says David Douphrate with the High Plains and Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.

As the dairy industry has changed and grown to more efficiently produce dairy products, the size of the operations have also grown, which requires dairy farms to employ more workers. This presents new challenges for dairy owners and managers as they are required to ensure a safe working environment and comply with state or federal occupational safety and health regulations.

With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions. Douphrate shared information on how to comply with OSHA requirements this week at the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association meeting in Lake Geneva, Wis.

According to the law, any dairy farm which employs 11 or more employees at any time during the previous 12-month period, or has an active temporary labor camp during that period, is subject to OSHA regulatory oversight. A dairy operation is exempt from all OSHA enforcement if it:

  1. Employs 10 or fewer employees currently and at all times during the last 12 months, and;
  2. Has not had an active temporary labor camp during the preceding 12 months.

Family members of farm employers are not counted when determining the number of employees for OSHA oversight. A part-time employee is counted as one employee.

From 2000 to 2010, a total of 736 inspections took place on U.S. dairy operations. Some of the more common citations were:

  • Lack of proper injury and illness prevention program.
  • Lack of work injury recording and reporting.
  • Lack of mounting or proper tagging of portable fire extinguishers.
  • Inadequate communication program about hazardous chemicals.
  • Inadequate process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals.
  • Inadequate hazardous waste operation management and emergency response.
  • Inadequate respiratory protection.
  • Lack of roll-over protective structures (ROPS).
  • Inadequate guarding floor and wall openings and holes.
  • Inadequate eye and face protection.
  • Inadequate medical services and first aid.
  • Inadequate guarding of field and farmstead equipment.

If dairy farms don’t comply with OSHA regulations, they can be fined. Fines can range from $0 to $70,000, depending upon the seriousness of the violation.

In order to meet OSHA requirements and protect the safety of your employees, it is recommended that you develop a safety program. Douphrate shares tips on what to include in your safety program, information on employee training, as well as additional resources for creating safety programs in the paper he presented at the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association meeting. Read the paper here.

Read at: DairyHerd.com, “Put employees’ safety first” by Megan Pierce, Associate Editor, 7 Apr 2011.

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