USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service says in 2018 there have been dozens of recalls involving millions of pounds of sausage, calzones and chicken whatnots contaminated with metal, plastic and other foreign non-food bits of dangerous materials.
ATVs are common in farming operations. As Fair Warning reports, officials in small towns and rural areas around the country, at the urging of riding enthusiasts, have been approving the use of ATVs — and other off-road machines known as recreational off-highway vehicles, or ROVs — on public roadways. Safety advocates have pushed back, but they are losing more fights than they win.
Grain bins, a common sight for anyone traveling through Iowa and other corn belt states, are a source of contention for agriculture safety specialists. Lack of research means specialists are unable to provide consistent advice to farmers about working in the storage bins. The safety experts are “dropping the ball,” said LaMar Grafft, a rural health and safety specialist.
Iowa’s small farms are on their own when it comes to work safety, even though farmers suffer more fatal occupational injuries than any other kind of worker in the state.
Limited Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforcement and coverage favors large farms, leaving the rest on an honors system in which dangerous farm practices fly under the radar until a serious, and often fatal, injury occurs.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for overseeing workplace safety, but the organization is handicapped when it comes to dealing with small farms and agriculture sites that handle grain.
OSHA’s federal guidelines prohibit it from enforcing regulations through inspections on both family farms and farms that employ fewer than 10 workers. Consequently, many places left vulnerable to grain-bin accidents are neglected.
The deadliest year for grain-bin workers on record was 2010, when at least 26 workers died throughout the country, according to grain-bin entrapment data from Purdue University. There were more than 50 total incidents that year. The frequency of accidents was so alarming that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s assistant secretary of labor, David Michaels, sent a letter to thousands of grain storage facility operators throughout the United States.