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February 4, 2014

State Farm Bureau President Testifies on Osha Overreach

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

In the past few months, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has started to overstep its regulatory authority by entering small farms with 10 or fewer workers and levying fines regarding grain bin regulations. South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal explains why this is a problem in this story with Seanica Otterby.
Otterby:OSHA is specifically prohibited by Congress from using federal funding to enforce regulations on small farm operations, of which grain bins are an integral component. South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal says it was clear that Congress intended small farms as an exemption and OSHA is overstepping its bounds. He testified at a Congressional hearing on this issue today.
VanderWal:Farmers are very caring people. We want to make sure that our employees are as safe as possible. We know how to keep our family members safe. It’s an obvious thing that you don’t go in a grain bin with flowing grain going out of it.
Otterby:VanderWal says American Farm Bureau has a number of safety programs to educate farmers, farm workers and their families on farm safety.
VanderWal:Really, OSHA could have teamed up with us and worked cooperatively with the industry, done education and safety programs rather than going out and just fining people. Certainly would have been a lot better way to do it, and honey always works a lot better than vinegar.
Otterby:VanderWal says OSHA is clearly defying the intent of Congress, and he hopes OSHA will cease and desist from these regulatory actions. Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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