Wednesday, July 1, 1998
Contact: Jeff Ezell (202) 219-8151
OSHA, USDA SIGN AGREEMENT PROMISING FUTURE COOPERATION
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and
the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA)
agreed June 21 to share information associated with grain dust
accumulation in warehouses that presents a hazard to employees.
"This memorandum of understanding between OSHA and FSA is
vital if we are to promote safety in grain warehouses," said Charles
N. Jeffress, OSHA administrator.
The agreement results from discussion between the two agencies
on the need to more closely coordinate each other's activities.
Besides the hazards of fire and explosion, excessive grain dust
jeopardizes the quality of the stored product. FSA personnel routinely
examine grain storage facilities for these conditions, noting any
problems in reports to their supervisors and warehouse operators.
Under the terms of the agreement, FSA supervisors now will
immediately notify OSHA regional administrators of their notations
regarding dust accumulation. Then, OSHA will take action to determine
if the dust levels are excessive and potentially dangerous.
Jeffress also noted that FSA examiners will not serve as
OSHA inspectors. "OSHA still remains the agency responsible
for protecting the health and safety of grain industry workers," he said.