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Government clarifies OSHA's boundaries on family farms

Colorado has its share of farming. A work safety story regarding a certain type of farms, therefore, has an impact in the state. Specifically, family farms of a certain smaller size in Colorado should feel secure that no legal worker safety changes are to come upon them.

Is that good news, though? OSHA workplace safety regulations can be valuable in various industries in the U.S. because they help ensure that fewer workers are injured or killed on the job. Some businesses are not regulated by OSHA. Small family farms are examples of workplaces that, in the past, have not been required to meet the safety standards of the government organization.

In 2011, OSHA issued a memorandum that scared some who value the limited government regulation of small family farms. Farms are businesses just like any other. They need profit to stay up-and-running. They are unlike other businesses, too.

A family farm's workers are actual family members: mother, daughter, father, daughter, etc. If OSHA had the legal option to regularly inspect family farms, it would be like officials inspecting a family home. That, at least, is the critics' view of the work safety matter.

Important to note is how OSHA issued the memorandum about small farm safety in response to an upward trend of fatal grain bin accidents on small farms in the country. Family or not, farm workers must make preventing work injuries a priority in their family businesses.

Workers who are injured and can point to an OSHA violation that contributed to their loss should work with a workers' compensation attorney. Legal rights may vary from case to case, but an accident victim should at least understand what their legal options are following an on-the-job injury.

Source: The Associated Press, "OSHA responds to pressure on small farm inspection," Henry C. Jackson, Feb. 22, 2014

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