OSHA has back-tracked and decided not to pursue enforcing a $132,000 fine against a Nebraska farm.
Sen. Mike Johanns reacts to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s decision to not pursue big fines against the small farm in Holt County.
“About time,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network. “This is a case that never should have been brought in the first place.”
Johanns says he became aware of the situation when the lawyer for the farm reached out to his office.
OSHA moved against the farm in Holt County, claiming it had violated federal grain bin regulations.
Johanns claims the federal agency exceeded its authority. He points out Congress prohibits the enforcement of federal regulations on family farms, specifically enforcement on farms with fewer than 10 employees who are not members of the family.
“But it’s terribly unfortunate that OSHA decided to ignore what Congress was saying and tried to regulate this farm,” Johanns says. “It never made any sense.”
Johanns says he will be watching to see if this indeed signals a change in how OSHA handles family farms.
OSHA has stated it will work with the United States Department of Agriculture to refine its farm regulations. Johanns says he would welcome efforts by OSHA and the USDA to work with youth groups, such as the FFA and 4-H, on educational programs to raise awareness about grain bin safety.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]