Region 3 - Alliance Annual Report - September 27, 2018

Philadelphia Area Office
Philadelphia Area Office ~ American Mushroom Institute
October 2018

  1. Alliance Background

    Date Signed: September 28, 2007

    Date Renewed: September 25, 2017

    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 2017 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 OSHA 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 tenth 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
    • Laura Phelps – AMI
    • Richard Rush – Kaolin Mushrooms
    • Fred Recchiuti – Basciani Foods
    • Luke Dowell – Basciani Foods
    • 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
    • John Bush – Bella Mushrooms
    • Scott Wood – Marson Mushrooms
    • Leanna Patterson – Giorgi Fresh Chester
    • Annette Moyer – Giorgi Mushroom Co.
    • Diego Torres – Pietro Industries
    • Nancy Rodriguez – Basciani Foods
    • Saloman Ortiz – S&P Conveyors
    • Rosa Ortiz – S&P Conveyors
    • Thomas Brennan – BB&T/Addis Group
    • Elizabeth Figueroa – Mother Earth*
    • Nancy Mora – First Generation Farms**
    • Cristina Castillo – Oakshire Mushrooms
    • 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
    • Chad LaFazia – Kaolin Mushrooms
    • Tim Murray – Murray Securus
    • Cindy Beck – Production Systems Automation
    • Meghan Klozbach – CP Yeatman & Sons
    • Nicole Sheets – Production Systems Automation
    • 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
    • Nancy Rodriguez – Basciani Foods
    • Sonya Beltran – First Generation Farms
    • David Grashof – BB&T/Addis Group
    • John Ashbaugh – Premier Mushrooms
    • Ed Miller – C.P. Yeatman & Sons
    • Bev King – AMI
    • Jessica Chandler – ATI Worksite Solutions
    • Geoff Price – Giorgi Mushroom Co.
    • Michael Silver – Foley Cat*
    • Meghan Klotzbach – Mother Earth*
    • Priscila Hernandez – Country Fresh**
    • * New Company
    • ** New Company Representative


    • Theresa Downs – Area Director, OSHA Philadelphia Area Office
    • Daniel Rahn – AMI
    • Laura Phelps- AMI
    • Lori Harrison – AMI
    • Amy Ducharme – AMI
    • Gene Richard - AMI
    • Kari Piatt- AMI
    • Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch – Penn State University Extension
    • 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 19, 2017
    • December 14, 2017
    • January 18, 2018
    • February 15, 2018
    • September 20, 2018
    • March 15, 2018
    • April 19, 2018 (General)
    • May 17, 2018
    • August 18, 2018
  3. Results of Alliance Activities in Support of Agreement Goals

    Evaluation Period: September 28, 2017 through September 27, 2018

    Events and Products

    Training and Education

    Product- The Ergonomics Subcommittee worked with ATI Worksite Solutions and developed a stretch and flex program that was distributed to all AMI member companies in the spring of 2017. The intention was to create a practical ergonomics program for the mushroom industry that focuses on all areas of work. This course was conceived by the Ergonomics Subcommittee of AMI's MESH Committee and presented by ATI Worksite Solutions and ATI Physical Therapy. Courses were offered in person in Landenberg, PA in both English and in Spanish in the fall of 2017. At the English session, 9 individuals were trained from 6 companies. At the Spanish session, 18 people were trained from 8 companies. In total, 27 people were trained from 12 companies. Related materials were compiled, translated and distributed to AMI members nationally. The program was based on developing safe body positions for different jobs, including both behavioral and engineering adjustments and the continued use of the stretching program designed to target specific job hazards. Pre-designed materials in PDF format were provided to all AMI member farms and include posters, handouts and pocket cards to improve the success of the on-farm stretching program. Several AMI member companies have reported the implementation of this stretching program.

    Product – 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. The model continues to help alleviate clerical errors on the log. 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. Fifty-nine (59) companies responded to the request for 2017 data, representing 8,489 employees. This represents a 100 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 assist in identifying injury/illness trends as well as set 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 offers online 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. Each app takes approximately 25 minutes to complete and includes quiz questions.

    Training– In the summer of 2018, the AMI/OSHA Alliance team coordinated First Aid/CPR Training sessions with AED training included. The six training sessions were conducted in both English (4 sessions) and Spanish (2 sessions) by Zee Medical staff in Landenberg, PA. Funding for this training was provided by the Mushroom Farmers of Pennsylvania, a committee of the AMI. More than 77 people were trained with participants from 12 mushroom farms. Topics included automated external defibrillator (AED), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and general first aid.

    Product- 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 19, 2018, the eleventh General Meeting of the AMI/OSHA Alliance was held at the Hartefeld National Golf Club in Avondale, PA. There were fifty-six (56) attendees representing thirty-one (31) different companies or organizations. Topics for the full day event included: an OSHA Update, Fall Protection Standards, and the Walking/Working Surfaces Standard by James Harrity, OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist, Philadelphia Area Office; OSHA 300/300A Update by Kari Piatt, Director of Member Services, AMI and John Hillard, Safety Manager, Giorgi Mushroom Company; "Research Report" by Dr. Amy Snipes, Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health, Penn State University; "Violence in the Workplace – Active Shooter" by Lydell Nolt, Chief of Police, Kennett Township Police Department; "Workers' Compensation and Illness/Injury Case Management" by Iris Ayala, Human Resources Director, South Mill Mushroom Sales.

    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: OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Campaign; OSHA's Silica and Walking/Working Surfaces Standards; Fall Protection; and Focus Four Campaigns; and Electronic Recordkeeping, including a data entry demonstration with the OSHA "Sandbox Site." Reporting and Recording requirements and the proper determination of a North Atlantic Industrial Classification System Code were covered in detail at meetings. The intent of the Safe & Sound Campaign and the resources available were reviewed and sent to all participants. The toolbox talks from the Regional Focus Four Campaign were distributed to all members each month of the campaign for each of the month's hazard topics. The electronic reporting requirements complete with a table of current reporting dates were sent to all AMI members. AMI members were also encouraged to develop an active shooter plan and coordinate with their local police department to look for other security vulnerabilities on their farm properties.

    The Alliance has opened a line of communications with Dr. Amy Snipes, Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University. She has experience with the safety behavioral modification of agricultural farmworkers by encouraging the use of personal protective equipment using a mobile phone app. Dr. Snipes plans to conduct research with mushroom farms to motivate a safety related culture by responding to the farmworkers cultural beliefs about safety. She attended several implementation meetings and emphasized the importance of remaining cognizant about cultural beliefs in terms of safety on the farm.

    The AMI/OSHA Alliance and the AMI Human Resources (HR) Task Force continued meeting twice annually to discuss common issues faced between safety and HR professionals on mushroom farms. In winter 2018, the groups formed a Case Management Subcommittee which met for the first time in August 2018.

    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 2017 to September 2018, seven (7) additional articles were published by the Alliance members in the Mushroom News, the American Mushroom Institute's national monthly magazine. These seven (7) articles were added to the thirty-five (35) prior Alliance related articles printed since the initiation of the Cooperative Agreement. These articles are available upon request:

    • October 2017 - Safety Seconds, "Safety Obligations Get Everyone Involved," Richard Rush
    • February 2018 – Safety Seconds, "Q & A with the MESH Committee," Lori Harrison
    • March 2018 – Mind Your Business, "Protect Your Farm and Business – Know Your Drivers," Dave Grashof
    • April 2018 – Safety Seconds, "Encouraging Personal Protective Use," John Hillard
    • May 2018 – Safety Seconds, "Safety Challenge: Dealing with the Chronic Violator," Richard Rush
    • June 2018 – Safety Seconds, "2017 Injury Statistics," John Hillard and Kari Piatt
    • August 2018 – Safety Seconds, "Safe and Sound: A Safe Workplace is Sound Business," James Harrity
  4. Results

    The Alliance continued to have success in the tenth 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 ten 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 (9) 193
    Mushroom Industry Worker Safety Training Program Online App (English) 217
    Mushroom Industry Worker Safety Training Program Online App (Spanish) 174
    Alliance General Meeting 56
    First Aid/CPR Training (English and Spanish) 77
    Mushroom News National Distribution 800
    Ergonomics Training 27
    TOTAL: 1,544

    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 twelfth year is the continuation of the development of safety programs and tools for the Mushroom Industry. In the last year, the Alliance 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 Fall Protection Subcommittee will continue their efforts with the assistance of the contractors they have consulted with to develop comprehensive programs for the mushroom industry. A small group within the committee plans to develop a set of best practices for front-end loader training. The Case Management Subcommittee will continue their efforts to develop a toolkit, which can be used for case management and serve as a way to prevent incidents as well. The Alliance will re-focus efforts on identifying trends and areas of improvement through the application of the 300 Log data, which will include adding positions and locations specific to compost wharves and spawn facilities. 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 Hispanic 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