Editor's Note: Today we attempt something a little different and take a break from Paul and Ashley posting. The following article was written by Kristi Kress Wilhelmy, a partner at Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eslegroth, LLP in Dublin, OH. We would like to thank Kristi for allowing us to repost this timely article on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) small farm exemption and the confusion that surrounds it. The following article first appeared in the Ohio Country Journal on July 28th, 2014.
Updated August 5: On July 29, 2014, OSHA issued a new memorandum regarding the limits of its authority to conduct enforcement activities on small farms. In the new memorandum, OSHA acknowledges that the onsite storage of grain grown on the small farm is an activity related to the farming operation and that engaging in such activity does not subject a small farm to OSHA enforcement. Likewise, storing and grinding grain to be fed to livestock on the small farm is an exempt activity. OSHA continues to explain, however, that not all activities on a small farm are exempt from OSHA enforcement. If an employer performs activities on a small farm that are not related to the farming operation or activities that are not necessary to gain economic value from the products produced on the small farm, such activities are not exempt from OSHA enforcement. For example, OSHA states that if a small farm stores grain that has been grown on other farms, the grain handling operation is not be exempt from OSHA enforcement. Similarly, OSHA notes that food processing operations conducted on the farm (e.g., making cider from apples grown on the farm or milling into flour grain grown on the farm) are not exempt from OSHA enforcement.
The oft discussed acronym OSHA continues to be an issue for farms and there is still confusion as to what is exempt from inspection and what is not. Read More