Region 3 - Alliance Annual Report - September 3, 2014

Philadelphia Area Office
Philadelphia Area Office ~ American Mushroom Institute
September 3, 2014

  1. Alliance Background

    Date Signed: September 28, 2007

    Date Renewed: February 16, 2012

    Alliance Overview:

    The AMI/OSHA Alliance goal is to develop and provide training and education programs for the mushroom growing industry to prevent falls and amputations, and to reduce or eliminate chemical, electrical and physical hazards. Other goals include the development and implementation of effective safety and health programs and providing expertise in communicating safety and health information to employers and employees. The Alliance continued to be productive and successful in the sixth year of the agreement.

    Evaluation Period: February 11, 2013 – March 25, 2014

    Implementation Team Members

    Committee Members:

    • Eugene Richard – AMI/MFPA
    • Chris Alonzo – Pietro Industries
    • Katie Locke – Pietro Industries
    • Randy Hertzler – Giorgi/Gaspari Mushroom
    • Mary Gonzalez – Giorgio Foods
    • Bill Barber – Giorgi Mushroom
    • Chris Buckley – Giorgi Fresh
    • Guy Braxton – Giorgi Mushroom Co
    • Bill Green – Phillips Mushroom Farm
    • Peter Gray – Phillips Mushroom Farm
    • Todd Cullen – Phillips Mushroom Farm
    • Tyler Blackwell – C.J. Mushroom Co
    • Alejandra Garcia, C.J. Mushroom
    • Saloman Ortiz – S & P Conveyors Inc.
    • Rosa Ortiz – S&P Conveyors
    • Joanne Osborne – S & P Conveyors Inc.
    • Kara Oliver – Kaolin Mushrooms
    • Richard Rush – Kaolin Mushroom
    • Fred Recchiuti – Basciani Foods
    • Gus Carozzo – Mushroom Spawning/ Casing
    • Chris Lafferty – Mushroom Spawning
    • John Hillard – Murray Securus
    • James Touey – OSHA
    • Sam Wilson – Needhams Mushroom Farm
    • Kevin Eller – E & H Conveyor Inc.*
    • David Sampson – Country Fresh
    • James Howard – Country Fresh Mushroom
    • Monica Rocha – Country Fresh Mushroom
    • Russ Kilmer – To-Jo Mushroom
    • Rick Wright – To-Jo Mushrooms
    • Karen Eichman – Karen Eichman Esq. PLLC
    • Dee Hughes – Sunny Dell Foods
    • Daniel Beltran – Masda Mushrooms
    • Carmen Davila – Masda Mushrooms
    • Robert Cantarera – John C. Leo & Son
    • John Harris – Oakshire Mushroom Farm**
    • Leanna Verget – Oakshire Mushroom Farm
    • Anita Swayne – Swayne's Inc.
    • Jerry Yeatman – C. P. Yeatman & Son
    • Viviana Cordero – CP Yeatman & Sons
    • Meghan Klozbach – CP Yeatman & Son
    • Luke Dowell – Basciani Foods
    • David Bottomley – Kennett Square Spec.
    • Cindy Hindman – Kennett Square Spec.



    • Albert D'Imperio – Area Director, OSHA Philadelphia Area Office
    • Domenick Salvatore – Area Director, OSHA Philadelphia Area Office
    • Laura Phelps – President AMI
    • Sara Manning – Mushroom News
    • Monica Thompson – Fragale AMI Office Manager
    • Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch – Penn State University Extension
    • Hector Nunez-Contreras – Penn State University Extension
    • Dave Hill – Penn State University - Confined Space Specialist
    • Katie Poppiti – Chester County Penn State Extension
    • Jodi Gauker – Chester County Industrial Development
    • Kerry H. Richards, PhD PSU – Department of Agricultural and Extension Education
    • David Schmidt: OSHA National Office – Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis, Office of Statistical Analysis


    • * New Company Representative
    • ** New Company
  2. Implementation Team Meetings

    Implementation Meetings held at the American Mushroom Institute facility located in Avondale (Kennett Square), PA.

    Alliance Implementation Team Meeting was conducted on February 21, 2013. Topics of this meeting included Confined Space, Hazard Communication training requirements that will be completed by December 2013. (21 representatives were in attendance).

    Alliance Implementation Team Meeting was conducted on September 5, 2013. Topics of this meeting included an update on OSHA‘s "Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI) and how this effects Mushroom Industry. OSHA focused on responsibilities for employers specifically for training and recordkeeping requirements as well as planning for the upcoming general meeting scheduled for October. (22 representatives were in attendance)

    In addition to the above noted Alliance Implementation Meetings attended by the Philadelphia Regional Labor Liaison, the AMI conducted ten additional monthly meetings where the on-going Alliance activities are monitored and moved forward.

  3. Activities and Products

    Evaluation Period: February 16, 2013 through February 16, 2014.

    Events and Products

    • Training and Education

      February 21, 2013 - OSHA provided a two hour training session for twenty-one Alliance implementation team members focused on Confined Space and utilized the video titled Safe in 8: Safety training in 8 minute.

      Mushroom Industry Specialty Crop Project - Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) sessions – In 2012 the AMI were provided with a 15 month training grant from the CCEDC for Member companies of the AMI/OSHA Alliance. Alliance members completed a needs assessment in March 2012 which to established the training needs of mushroom farm employees. Thirty people completed the assessment including growers, suppliers, packers and industry partners. Results from the survey indicated the types of training addressed in this grant were necessary, including particularly food safety, electrical and on-site hazards identification and training. The on-site hazard training included a session on: Confined Spaces; Lock-Out/Tag-Out; and Powered Industrial Truck Training and Certification. Many of the trainees spoke English as their second language, and therefore many of the sessions were either offered solely in Spanish or had a translator present for live translation, or to answer any questions. The training sessions were assisted by Penn State University Extension representative(s). The CCEDC, AMI, AMI/OSHA Alliance, project advisory committee and trainers successfully collaborated on this training grant project and conducted 32 classes to 35 employers. Another major benefit of the training program is that the training models can be replicated in the future. The tools created as a result of the project including the PowerPoint presentations in English and Spanish, handouts and the practice electrical board can be used in future training sessions.

      The training sessions took place in a "small-group" format to achieve maximum interaction of trainees and provide for hands-on demonstrations at work sites and set the stage for subsequent turnkey training. There were 420 workers and supervisors involved in 15-month training project. Project outcomes were measured and data analyzed during the implementation and monitoring of the project in Berks, Chester and Delaware Counties involving 35 mushroom-growing companies. The training sessions were provided by committee members, Gene Richard of Richard Enterprises, Inc. and John Hillard of Murray Insurance and Karen Eichman attorney, Karen Eichman Esq. PLLC. Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch, an Educator with Penn State Extension, who is also a member of the Alliance, provided translation services for the project.

      Product – The AMI/OSHA Alliance team worked directly with Penn State University (PSU) Extension to develop a Hazard Communication training models (English and Spanish) to be utilized by the industry. This training model included both video and flip chart that employers could utilize for the new OSHA HazCom 2012 training deadline of December 1, 2013. The training was designed to be mushroom industry specific. The product will be offered out and shared by PSU Department of Agricultural and Extension Education as a template which can be adapted for other agriculture areas.

      Product – AMI - OSHA 300 Log Recordkeeping Model Designed for Mushroom Industry. In the last year the Alliance designed, developed and disseminated an abridged OSHA 300 injury/illness Log template in an effort to standardize work departments and job titles. Standardizing the departments allow the AMI Alliance participants to obtain and maintain more concise injury/illness records by providing more uniform and meaningful data for their members. Another innovative component of the Model is that the electronic form has embedded limitations added to the document which set parameters for data input. An example of this would be the 180 day case limit for the Days Away/Restricted- Duty. If a user attempted to enter a total in excess of the 180 day limit; the user would receive an error message. This function of the Model will help alleviate clerical errors on the log by eliminating the opportunity to over record days away and restricted/transferred for an OSHA recordable injury, as well as eliminates the opportunity to check multiple case types. For several years the individual AMI employers have been voluntarily collecting and compiling their OSHA 300 Data and have been sharing this cumulative data with its members, The new Model will ensure that the data is more consistent and reliable and will serve to both to assist in identifying injury/illness trends as well as setting a benchmark for the Mushroom Growing industry. This benchmark will allow for individual employers to measure the effectiveness of their safety & health management systems. OSHA's Labor Liaison facilitated communications between the AMI representatives and OSHA's National Office who provided assistance in the review of the Recordkeeping Model for consistency with the standard's requirements. The AMI- OSHA 300 Log Recordkeeping Model Designed for Mushroom Industry can be found at the following link:

      The Alliance also procured 19 various safety videos which are maintained at their Avondale PA headquarters for their members to use to train their staff and employees. Ten of the videos are in English and nine are in Spanish.

    • Outreach and Communication

      April 25, 2013 - American Mushroom Institute (AMI) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Alliance sixth general meeting of the AMI/OSHA Alliance, was conducted in Avondale, PA. There were 65 attendees that represented 35 different companies or organizations participating at the meeting. Topics for the full day event included; an "OSHA 300 Log/Summary Report for 2012" provided by John Hillard Certified Safety Proffesional, Murray Securus, "Confined Space Program" Kara Oliver, Training and Development Manager, Kaolin Mushroom Farms; Guy Braxton, Safety Manager, Giorgi Mushroom Co.; John Hillard, Certified Safety Proffesional (CSP) Murray Securus, "Upcoming Safety Training Meetings", Jodi Gauker, Agriculture Program Manager, Chester County Economic Development Council, "Safe Guarding - Machine Guarding", Richard Rush, Safety Director, Kaolin Mushroom Farms; Todd Cullen, Safety Manager, Phillips Mushroom Farms; "Important OSHA Topics", James Touey, OSHA Region III Labor Liaison, "Mushroom Best Practices Manual Update", Adam Mowery, Chester County Conservation District.

      October 29, 2013 - American Mushroom Institute (AMI) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Alliance seventh general meeting of the AMI/OSHA Alliance, was conducted in Avondale, PA. There were 55 attendees and that represented 26 different companies or organizations participating at the meeting. Topics for the full day event included; "HazCom 2012 Training Model", Kerry H. Richards, PhD, PSU Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, "Updated Recordkeeping Program; Understanding OSHA Recordkeeping for Temporary and Contract Employees; Importance in Training Temporary and Contract Employees" John Hillard, Certified Safety Proffesional (CSP), Murray Securus; Todd Cullens, Phillip Mushroom Farms and Monica Fragale, MFPA; "OSHA Mock Inspection", "Hazard Communication 2012 Training Requirements", "OSHA's Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI)" James Touey, OSHA Region III Labor Liaison.

      In the most recent year, the Alliance finalized five additional "Mushroom Industry" specific sample safety programs covering: Machine Safe Guarding; Confined Space; Haz Communication/GHS Program and Training Video; Electrical Hazards; as well as a Mushroom Specific 300 Log template. The five newly released programs make a total of twelve programs developed and disseminated to the member companies in the six years of the agreement. Other sample programs include: Developing a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA); Personal Protective Equipment; Pick Light Safety; Recordkeeping; Lock-Out/Tag-Out; Powered Industrial Trucks (forklift); and Emergency Action Plans.

      Communications between the AMI Alliance and OSHA continues throughout the year in the form of technical assistance and OSHA Updates that affect the mushroom growing industry. Topics discussed in the past year included: Recordkeeping, OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, OSHA's Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI), Hazard Communication 2102 and developing a Chemical Inventory, Fall Protection and various other safety and health issues.

    • Promoting the National Dialogue on Workplace Safety and Health

      This year in an effort to make resources more readily available to their members the Alliance began to post all of their safety materials on the AMI website under Workplace Safety", "Employee Safety". As a result the AMI's sample safety and health programs as well as articles generated by the Alliance are currently available to the Mushroom Industry as well as the general public on the American Mushroom Institute's website. The safety and health programs are available for free download at

      Additional information on the Mushroom Industry Specialty Crop Project – the complete grant report from the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) can be obtained by contacting the Avondale AMI office to request a copy. Mushroom farm employers can find resources from the training sessions on AMI's Web site for future use. Visit for training tools.

      From February 2013 to February 2014 six additional articles were published by the Alliance members in the American Mushroom Institute's National Monthly Magazine "Mushroom News". These six articles were added to the nineteen prior Alliance related articles printed since the initiation of the Cooperative Agreement. These articles can also be found at the AMI's website.

      April 2013
      CCEDC & AMI OSHA Committee Team to Offer Workplace Safety Trainings, Jodi Guaker
      May 2013
      Safety Seconds, "Stepping Up to Provide Industry Specific Safety Training Beyond OSHA Requirements," John Hillard
      June 2013
      AMI/OSHA Alliance Meeting Draws a Crowd (News of the April 25, 2013 General Meeting with photos)
      Jan. 2014
      420 Employees Trained through work Force Development Project, Jodi Gauker
      Safety Seconds "Five Years Later, What Have We Learned?" John Hillard
      OSHA News: Customized OSHA Log Templates Available
      Feb. 2014
      OSHA News: OSHA Logs Made Easy
  4. Results

    The Alliance continued to have success in the sixth year of the agreement. The implementation team has continued to grow in the past year adding members representing several new companies. As was with the first five years of the agreement, the Alliance group has continued to voluntarily provide individual company injury/illness data. This statistical information has allowed the localized industry to share in their trends and respond by targeting specific hazards. The injury/illness data has shown to be consistent from year to year and more statistically reliable for use. The continued gathering of this information will continue to develop measurable benchmarks for the industry employers to utilize in future years. The Alliance group continues to develop "Mushroom Industry" specific sample safety programs which have been disseminated amongst their member companies.

    The Alliance recently completed a 15 month training grant provided by the Chester County Economic Development Council. This "Partnership" relationship which was forged with the intent to develop training programs geared towards AMI membership company employees covering both "workplace safety" as well as other industry topics. The grant funded 36 classes for 420 supervisors and employees offered as a result of this training grant focused on training and certifying employees in the areas of: Powered Industrial Truck (Fork Lift and Electric Jack), Electrical Hazard Identification, On Site Hazard Identification and Supervisor Training. Many of the trainings offered through this project were train the trainer programs, or held for supervisors. Therefore, the training will exponentially impact the industry with the sharing of knowledge, skills, and lessons from the supervisors to their workers. By videotaping the Mushroom Good Agricultural Practices Train the Trainer program, the training will become available nationwide through the American Mushroom Institute website. Additionally, other insurance service providers participated in the onsite and electrical hazards training. This enables these employees to make recommendations to other client companies to improve their safety and health programs.

    This Alliance has successfully outreached and collaborated with Penn State Extension. This creates broad opportunities for positive impact, including research and collaboration on other agricultural farms using this Alliance's developed educational programs.

    Type of Activity (Conference, Training, Print and Electronic Distribution, etc.) Number of Individuals Reached or Trained
    AMI Implementation Team Meetings (12) 211
    Mushroom Industry Specialty Crop Project Safety Specific Training Sessions (26)*** 280
    AMI Alliance Implementation Team Training Session –Confined Space 21
    Alliance General Meeting "Break-out Session" (2) 120
    TOTAL: 632

    *** The thirty-six "Mushroom Industry Specialty Crop Project" CCEDC sessions were conducted over a 15 month period (July 2012-Sept 2013). Twenty-six of the thirty-two training sessions were conducted in the timeframe of this evaluation period (February 2013 to February 2014) with a total of 280 employees and supervisors trained.

    The annual activities of the Alliance group continue to have a major impact on the Mushroom industries' Hispanic Workforce. It is estimated that 90% of the estimated 12,000 employee workforce in this industry are Hispanic.

  5. Upcoming Milestones

    The focus of the Alliance's seventh year is the continuation of the development of sample safety programs for the Mushroom Industry. In the last year the group has developed or is in the process of developing and releasing six additional programs. As noted above the Alliance also created a more detailed injury/illness data log job which will be used as a resource to target additional safety and health program needs.

    In the upcoming year, the AMI will look to move beyond just compliance based programming by focusing on "best practices in the industry" that have successfully reduced or eliminated hazards at individual AMI workplaces. The Alliance will re-focus efforts on identifying trends and areas of improvement through the application of the 300 log data. Finally, we should look back to provide additional training opportunities for key areas touched on in prior years (i.e. LOTO and Confined space).

    The AMI Alliance will also continue to encourage individual industry employers to translate site specific safety programs into Spanish for their predominantly Latino workforce.

    The Alliance Participants are in the process of renewing the Alliance agreement.

Report Prepared by: James Touey Region III Labor Liaison

For more information, contact the Office of Outreach Services and Alliances at 202-693-2340 or go to