Thursday, January 16, 2014

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Senators Demand OSHA Rein in Unlawful Regulatory Reach

Washington--The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration must stop its unlawful regulation of family farms, more than 40 Republican and Democratic senators wrote in a recent letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.  

For nearly four decades, Congress has included specific language in appropriations bills prohibiting OSHA from using appropriated funds to apply requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1976 to farming operations with 10 or fewer employees.  However, an OSHA memo issued in 2011 stating that many activities-including drying and fumigating grain-are subject to all OSHA requirements effectively expanded the agency's regulatory scope to nearly every farm in the country.      

"There are many farms that have grain dryers on-farm to address wet harvest conditions or fumigate grain to prevent pests from ruining a crop prior to marketing. These are basic, common, and responsible farming activities that OSHA has arbitrarily decided are non-exempt," the senators wrote.    

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