Following a letter led by Rep. Noem urging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to stay off small farms, the Department of Labor announced Monday that the agency would withdraw the controversial enforcement guidance that allowed OSHA inspectors on farms with fewer than 10 employees.
“Our family farms have a strong vested and personal interest in keeping their operations safe and viable,” said Rep. Noem. “OSHA has no authority to add more regulatory burdens on these small family businesses. I am pleased the Department of Labor will be revoking OSHA’s attempt to circumvent the law and join many producers across South Dakota in breathing a sigh of relief that OSHA will be staying off our family farms.”
Since 1976, Congress has banned OSHA from regulating farming operations with ten or fewer employees. However, in 2011, OSHA issued a memo without any public notice indicating the Agency has authority to regulate “post-harvest” activities which could include storage, fumigation, and drying - processes common on farms of all sizes. To view a copy of Rep. Noem’s January 28th letter to Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez, please click here.