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OSHA Agricultural Standards

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    Types

    • OSHA agricultural standards regulate several aspects of agricultural work, including safety standards for rollover protective structures for farm equipment, agricultural equipment safety, environmental controls and occupational health.

    Function

    • Since agricultural work often involves using potentially dangerous machinery, OSHA provides safety standards to help protect agricultural workers. It also helps protect them from the environmental hazards of agriculture, like hazardous chemicals and potentially unsanitary fields.

    Roll-over Protective Structure Standards

    • OSHA requires that tractors have roll-over protective structures which, in this case, means that employers need to provide tractors with seat belts. The seat belts need to be capable of holding in 1,000 lbs. at a 45 degree angle. Seat belts should be made out of material that is resistant to common wear, including mildew, aging, sunlight and acids. Employers also need to provide adequate protection for seat belts by keeping them away from sharp objects and chemical spills.

    Farm Equipment Standards

    • Employers must teach employees how to safely use farm equipment, as mandated by OSHA agricultural standards. OSHA also requires that farm equipment be fully turned off before employees perform any servicing work on it, and workers stands away from the machinery when starting it. Regulations also stipulate that only necessary employees ride on farm equipment. Employers should provide guards and guardrails to prevent employees from falling into dangerous farm equipment or otherwise hurting themselves on farm equipment.

    Field Labor Standards

    • Employers must provide employees with clean and reasonably cool drinking water at no cost, as mandated by OSHA agricultural standards. They must also provide at least one sanitary toilet facility for every 20 workers nearby hand-washing facilities, both of which must sit within at least one-quarter mile of where the employees work.

    General Industry Standards

    • Some general OSHA standards apply to agriculture. Respiratory standards, which require respirators for employees spraying hazardous chemicals, apply to agriculture employees spraying pesticides and herbicides. OSHA also requires employers to provide employees with protection from noise exposure and make a chart explaining the legal limits for noise exposure, which can come from noisy farm equipment. Farm work requires the use of miscellaneous tools, which OSHA requires employers to keep in good working condition.

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