posted at 10:34 am Thu Oct 30th, 2014 by (WherezIt_Staff)
In conjunction with UVM Extension, the Vermont Department of Labor, and Co-operative Insurance, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets (VAAFM) announces the sixth annual Vermont Farm Safety Program kick-off on November 14th in Berlin, VT.
The Vermont Farm Safety Program is designed to assist farmers and producers in navigating safety requirements established by the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration ((V)OSHA), and provide critical tools to improve on-farm safety, including proper safety program documentation and implementation guidelines, and bilingual language resources. New this year, the Vermont Farm Safety Program will be open to all Vermont farms and producers regardless of size or sector.
"It's critical for Vermont producers to understand that even though farms with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from OSHA inspection; they are not exempt from OSHA regulations. Every farm needs to have a written safety program in place," according to Agency of Agriculture Education Coordinator Louise Waterman.
In 2014, the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration ((V)OSHA) updated its inspection policies under the small farm and farming enforcement policy, including the following clarifications:
* Farms with 10 or fewer employees and without a temporary labor camp are exempt from (V)OSHA inspection.
* All food manufacturing that takes place on farms, regardless of size, is subject to (V)OSHA inspection. For example, an apple orchard may be exempt from (V)OSHA inspections; however, if they turn their apples into cider onsite, the cider-making operation would be non-exempt; subject to (V)OSHA inspections.
Farms that participate in the Vermont Farm Safety Program will not only strengthen the existing safety measures within their businesses and confirm compliance with (V)OSHA regulations, but may also find they are eligible for additional discounts on workers' compensation and property insurance premiums.
"It is important to recognize that farms in Vermont are working hard to create a culture of safety on their farms. This program helps producers develop and/or strengthen that culture and create safe working environments on the farm." Chuck Ross, Vermont's Secretary of Agriculture.
Applications are being accepted now and there is limited space available; contact Louise Waterman at the VT Agency of Agriculture, 802-373-3352 or Louise.Waterman@state.vt.us for an application or more information.
Participation in the Vermont Farm Safety Program requires the following commitments:
* $90.00 program registration fee
* Attend the Vermont Farm Safety Program orientation meeting on November 14, 2014 at the UVM Extension office in Berlin VT and at least one additional meeting via phone conference call or webinar
* Agree to a farm safety check/audit on your farm during November or December
* Follow through on recommendations for 'hazard reduction' from the audit
* Identify an official farm 'Safety Manager'
* Develop and implement an individualized Farm Safety Plan
* Conduct monthly on-farm employee safety trainings
The Vermont Farm Safety Program was developed by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture in conjunction with UVM Extension, the Vermont Department of Labor and Co-operative Insurance. The Vermont Farm Safety Program is a voluntary program and all information is confidential.
Contact: Louise Waterman, 802-373-3352, Louise.Waterman@state.vt.us
Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Montpelier, VT 05602 (Set as Local)