Region 3 - Alliance Annual Report - September 30, 2016

Philadelphia Area Office
Philadelphia Area Office ~ American Mushroom Institute
September 30, 2016

  1. Alliance Background

    Date Signed: September 28, 2007

    Date Renewed: September 29, 2014

    Alliance Overview:

    The American Mushroom Institute (AMI) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) entered into an Alliance in September 2007 to maintain a collaborative relationship to create safer workplaces. The Alliance was renewed in 2014 with an emphasis on the development and maintenance of safety and health programs. The goal of the AMI/OSHA Alliance 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 AMI Alliance Committee meets regularly in Pennsylvania to plan OSHA programs geared to the mushroom farm community. The committee is responsible for promoting worker safety on mushroom farms. Members share ideas, lessons learned and other information to this end. A representative from the OSHA Region III office participates in the meetings and provides updates for committee members regarding OSHA laws and regulations. The AMI/OSHA Alliance holds an annual meeting each spring to share key information with all interested members. The Alliance continued to be productive and successful in the ninth year of the agreement.

    Implementation Team Members:

    Committee Members:

    • Eugene Richard – AMI/MFPA
    • Chris Alonzo – Pietro Industries
    • Katie Locke – Pietro Industries
    • Randy Hertzler – Giorgi/Gaspari
    • Monica Rocha – Country Fresh
    • Guy Braxton – Giorgi Mushroom Co
    • Bill Green – Phillips Mushrooms
    • Peter Gray – Phillips Mushrooms
    • Daniel Beltran – Masda Mushrooms
    • Robert Cantarera – Phillips Mushrooms
    • Jose Sanchez – C.P. Yeatman & Sons**
    • Daniel Rahn – AMI*
    • Jerry Yeatman – C. P. Yeatman & Son
    • Richard Rush – Kaolin Mushrooms
    • Fred Recchiuti – Basciani Foods
    • Gus Carozzo – Mush. Spawning Services
    • Chris Lafferty – Mushroom Spawning
    • John Hillard – Murray Securus
    • Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch – PSU Ext.**
    • Jodi Gauker – C.C. Econ. Dev. Council**
    • Iris Ayala – Southmill Mushroom Sales
    • Martin Ortiz – Liberty Mushrooms
    • Scott Wood – Marson Mushrooms**
    • Leanna Patterson – Giorgi Fresh Chester**
    • Annettee Moyer – Giorgi Mushroom Co.*
    • Diego Torres – Pietro Industries**
    • Nancy Rodriguez – Basciani Foods
    • Bev King – AMI**
    • Rosa Ortiz – S&P Conveyors
    • James Harrity – OSHA
    • Sam Wilson – Needhams Mushrooms
    • Kevin Eller – E & H Conveyor Inc.
    • David Sampson – Country Fresh
    • Chris Buckley – Giorgi Fresh
    • Rick Wright – To-Jo Mushrooms
    • Karen Eichman – Karen Eichman Esq. PLLC
    • Todd Cullen – Phillips Mushrooms
    • Olivia Camacho – C-N-B Mushroom Co.*
    • John Harris – Oakshire Mushrooms
    • Joanna Osborne – S&P Conveyors
    • Chad LaFazia – Kaolin Mushrooms
    • Laura Phelps – AMI
    • Viviana Cordero – CP Yeatman & Sons
    • Meghan Klozbach – CP Yeatman & Sons
    • Luke Dowell – Basciani Foods
    • David Bottomley – Kennett Square Spec.
    • Cindy Hindman –Kennett Square Spec.
    • Thomas Samuels – C-N-B Mushroom Co.*
    • Hilary Fox – Phillips Mushrooms**
    • Kelleanne Smith – Mush. Spawning
    • John Bush – Bella Mushrooms**
    • Sonya Beltran – First Generation Farms**
    • David Grashof – BB&T/Addis Group*
    • John Ashbaugh – Premier Mushrooms**
    • Ed Miller – C.P. Yeatman & Sons**
    • Patty Foss-Bennie – AMI**
    • Saloman Ortiz – S&P Conveyors
    • Geoff Price – Giorgi Mushroom Co.**
    • * New Company
    • ** New Company Representative


    • Nicholas DeJesse – Area Director, OSHA Philadelphia Area Office
    • Laura Phelps – AMI
    • Daniel Rahn – AMI
    • Patty Foss-Bennie – AMI
    • Sara Manning – Mushroom News
    • Bev King – Mushroom News
    • Hector Nunez-Contreras – Penn State University Extension
    • Katie Poppiti – Chester County Penn State University Extension
    • Jodi Gauker – Chester County Industrial Development
    • David Schmidt – OSHA National Office, Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis, Office of Statistical Analysis
  2. Implementation Team Meetings

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

    • October 15, 2015
    • January 21, 2016
    • March 17, 2016
    • May 19, 2016
    • August 18, 2016
    • December 10, 2015
    • February 18, 2016
    • April 14, 2016*
    • June 23, 2016
    • September 15, 2016

    * General Meeting

  3. Activities and Products

    Evaluation Period: September 28, 2015 through September 27, 2016

    Events and Products

    Training and Education

    Product – Part of the AMI/OSHA Alliance mission is to compile data from the OSHA 300 and OSHA 300A worker injury logs each year on an aggregate basis to gauge how well farms are doing in fostering worker safety and preventing injuries and identify areas of concern. 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, AMI has been voluntarily collecting and compiling members' OSHA 300 Data and has been sharing this cumulative data with its members through presentations at AMI/OSHA Alliance meetings and dissemination in the Mushroom News. When the program started in 2009, only twenty-nine (29) companies submitted injury data representing 4,246 employees. Forty-one (41) companies responded to the request for 2016 data, representing 5,185 employees. This represents an 18 percent increase in the number of employees represented. The increased participation has resulted in a better cross-section of the workforce and a more accurate representation of the injuries sustained. The model ensures 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 allows 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:

    Product - The AMI/OSHA Alliance team launched a new set of training apps to educate and train mushroom farm and packinghouse employees on worker safety best practices, in light of new OSHA initiatives and the ever-changing workforce. This set of interactive apps on worker safety, are available in English and Spanish. Employees take a short quiz at the end of each module to demonstrate their knowledge of key topics. The apps are available to download for free from Google Play or the Apple Store to play on your computer, tablet or smart phone (iOS and Android systems). In addition, the links to the apps are available on the American Mushroom Institute website. This worker safety training app highlights five areas of onsite hazards including: 1) Caught-In Hazards; 2) Struck-By Hazards; 3) Sprain & Strain Hazards; 4) Fall Hazards; and 5) Electrical Hazards. Each section has a run time of 3-5 minutes. The entire app takes approximately 25 minutes to complete and includes quiz questions. Volunteers from two farms completed the initial trial testing using both the English and Spanish versions. Employees enjoyed the exercise and thought the apps were easy to use. Several comments indicated that the individualized experience was preferred to group training sessions because employees can compete against themselves and receive immediate feedback from the tests at the end of each session.

    Product – In February, 2016, the AMI/OSHA Alliance teamed up with Zee Medical to conduct individual medical evaluations and respirator fit tests for mushroom growers at Hartefeld National Golf Club in Avondale, PA. To comply with the new EPA regulations regarding Pesticides and Hazardous Chemicals, employees who are in contact with certain materials need to use proper PPE, including respirators. Effective respiratory protection consists of several essential elements. OSHA requires all employers to provide a medical evaluation to determine an employee's ability to use a respirator prior to fit testing or respirator use occurring in the workplace. The program offered by the AMI/OSHA Alliance was a quick, inexpensive and reliable online medical evaluation designed for businesses and governmental agencies to help comply with OSHA requirements. The program included respirator medical evaluations for all brands and types of respirators, the completion of a medical evaluation from a web-enabled program, and an instant notification certificate to confirm the results of the evaluation. These evaluations were conducted prior to the qualitative fit testing offered by Zee Medical. Each employee was assigned a time to appear and assessed on the proper fit, usability and care of the respirator equipment.

    Product – In September 2015 and March and April 2016, the AMI/OSHA Alliance team partnered with the Chester County Economic Development Council to conduct First Aid/CPR Training with AED training included. These training sessions were conducted in both English and Spanish by Zee Medical staff in West Grove, PA. Funding for this training was supported by a Specialty Crop Block Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. More than 150 people were trained with participants from 15 mushroom farms. Topics included automated external defibrillator (AED), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and general first aid.

    Product – In May and June 2016, the AMI/OSHA Alliance team asked Dr. Sergio Nieto-Montenegro, Food Safety Consulting & Training Services to conduct Supervisor Training in Spanish at Hartefeld National Golf Club in Avondale, PA. Twenty-nine mushroom farm employees attended this training session. The complete eight (8) hour training session was split over two sessions, approximately ½ day each. This workshop was interactive and designed to lead the attendee to realizing and appreciating the appropriate steps and actions to be taken in certain circumstances. The Supervisor Training included the following topics: Introduction to Supervision, Transitioning from Employee to Foreman/Forewoman, Good Documentation Practices, Corrective Actions, Leadership, Communication, Setting Goals & Objectives, Time Management Skills, Correcting Crew Members, and Employee Motivation.

    The Alliance also maintains 19 various safety videos at their Avondale, PA headquarters for their members to use to train their staff and employees. Ten (10) of the videos are in English and nine (9) are in Spanish.

    Outreach and Communication

    On April 14, 2016, the ninth general meeting of the AMI/OSHA Alliance was held at the Hartefeld National Golf Club in Avondale, PA. There were sixty (60) attendees representing twenty-five (25) different companies or organizations. Topics for the full day event included: "OSHA Update" and Electric Arc Flash" by James Harrity, OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist Region 3; "OSHA 300 and 300A Update" by Daniel Rahn, Project Manager, American Mushroom Institute; "Fall Protection Subcommittee Update" by Richard Rush, Safety Manager, Kaolin Mushroom Farms; "Ergonomics Subcommittee Update" by Meghan Klotzbach, Regulatory Manager, C.P. Yeatman & Sons; "General Duty Clause – Importance for Agriculture" by John Hillard, Risk Control Consultant, Murray Securus; "Onsite Hazard Training App for Mushrooms Update" by Katie Poppiti, Agriculture and Smart Energy Initiative Program Coordinator, Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC); and "Effective Communication" by Richard Wright, Director of Food Safety, To-Jo Fresh Mushrooms, Inc.

    Communications between the AMI 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, Electric Arc Flash, OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, OSHA's Expanding Reporting Requirements, Fall Protection and various other safety and health issues.

    Promoting the National Dialogue on Workplace Safety and Health

    In an effort to make resources more readily available to their members, the AMI continued to post all of their safety materials on the AMI website under the "Workplace Safety" tab. 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 and the general public on the American Mushroom Institute's website. The safety and health programs, as well as the worker safety training apps and other tools, are available for free download at

    From October 2015 to July 2016, four (4) additional articles were published by the Alliance members in the Mushroom News, the American Mushroom Institute's national monthly magazine. These four (4) articles were added to the twenty-five (25) prior Alliance related articles printed since the initiation of the Cooperative Agreement. These articles can also be found on the AMI's website:

    • October 2015 – Safety Seconds, "Ammonia Training and Site Visit Findings," John Hillard
    • November 2015 – Ready, Set, Grow! "First Aid Training Sessions Held," Katie Poppiti
    • May 2016 – Safety Seconds, "A Challenge to Those in Charge," John Hillard
    • July 2016 – New OSHA Rule Requires Safety Log Submission
  4. Results

    The Alliance continued to have success in the ninth 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 nine (9) 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 because of higher rates of submission among U.S. mushroom farms. The gathering of this information will continue to develop measurable benchmarks for the industry to utilize in future years. The Alliance group continues to develop "Mushroom Industry" specific sample safety programs which have been disseminated among member companies.

    Type of Activity (Conference, Training, Print and Electronic Distribution, etc.) Number of Individuals Reached or Trained
    AMI Implementation Team Meetings (10) 200
    Mushroom Industry Worker Safety Training Program Online App (English) 217 (200 iOS & 17 Android)
    Mushroom Industry Worker Safety Training Program Online App (Spanish) 174 (163 iOS & 11 Android)
    Alliance General Meeting 60
    First Aid/CPR Training (English and Spanish) 150
    Supervisor Training (Spanish) 29
    TOTAL: 830

    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 tenth year is the continuation of the development of safety programs and tools for the Mushroom Industry. In the last year, the group has developed bilingual, electronic-based training apps to individualize worker safety training for mushroom farm employees. As noted above, the Alliance also improved the submission rate of OSHA injury log data, which improves the detailed injury/illness data log analysis that is 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 member 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.

    Report Prepared by: James Harrity, Compliance Assistance Specialist

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