Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at


July 10, 1997


Dear [Withheld]:

This is in response to your letter dated May 21, on behalf of your constituent, [Name and Address Withheld], and his questions pertaining to the Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations over large dairy farms.

Dairy farms have a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code of 0241, which OSHA considers an agricultural or farming operation. For farming operations the regulations that would apply are found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 1928 and Part 1910. Part 1928 contains OSHA standards for agriculture and Part 1910 contains the standards for general industry. A copy of the Part 1928 standards is enclosed.

Seven standards in Part 1910 also apply to farming operations. They are the standards for temporary labor camps (1910.142); storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia (1910.111 (a) and 1910.111(b)); logging operations (1910.266); slow-moving vehicles (1910.145); hazard communication (1910.1200); cadmium (1910.1027); and retention of Department of Transportation (DOT) markings, placards and labels (1910.1201). These seven standards have been marked with yellow flags in the two volumes of the Part 1910 standards that are enclosed.

OSHA's standards apply to all employers regardless of size. Therefore, all of the above standards would apply to both small and large dairy farmers. Also, OSHA's "general duty clause," Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, could be applicable to dairy farmers in cases where a particular hazard is not addressed by any OSHA standard.

There is, however, a difference in OSHA's authority to enforce its standards. As you know, Congress has for several years restricted OSHA's enforcement activities regarding small employers by enacting an appropriations rider. The rider exempts small farming operations from enforcement of all rules, regulations, standards, or orders under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act). A farming operation is exempt from all OSHA if it presently has, or has had at any time during the previous 12 months, ten or fewer employees; and has not had an active temporary labor camp during the proceeding 12 months. Family members of farm employers are not counted when determining the number of employees.

OSHA's future regulatory powers over large farms, as over any employer, will depend upon what Congress determines is appropriate in light of the goals of the agency and the resources allocated to it.

To assist your constituent, you will also find Fact Sheet No. OSHA 97-04 which describes the OSHA Consultation Service. If your constituent wishes to contact the OSHA Consultation Service, he may contact the following:

For health issues:

Wisconsin Department of Health & Human Services
Division of Health
Section of Occupational Health, Room 112
1414 East Washington Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53703

Terry Moen, Chief
Telephone: (608) 266-8579
Fax: (608) 266-9711

For safety issues:

Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor & Human Relations
Bureau of Safety Inspections
401 Pilot Court, Suite C
Waukesha, Wisconsin 53188

Jim Lutz, Acting Program Manager
Telephone: (414) 521-5063
Fax: (414) 548-8614

Your constituent may also contact the OSHA Regional Office that serves Wisconsin, which is:

Chicago Regional Office
Michael Connors, Regional Administrator
Sandra Taylor, Deputy Regional Administrator
U. S. Department of Labor — OSHA
230 South Dearborn Street, Room 3244
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Telephone: (312) 353-2220
Fax: (312) 353-7774

If you have any questions you may call Helen Rogers of my staff at (202) 219-8031, x121.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

[Corrected 04/24/2008]

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Room N3468
Washington, D.C. 20210

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of a constituent, [Name and Address Withheld]. [Name Withheld] has questions pertaining to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations over farms, specifically large dairy farms.

[Name Withheld] has contacted my office requesting detailed OSHA regulations outlining what farms of varying sizes must satisfy in order to be in full compliance with OSHA guidelines. [Name Withheld] feels that there is a disparity in the regulations large farms must comply with versus the regulations small farms must comply with. [Name Withheld] feels that large farms are required to follow the same regulations as large industrial enterprises, whereas small farms must comply with lesser regulations. [Name Withheld] wonders if OSHA's regulatory powers over large farms will increase in the future as concerns over environmental and agricultural pollution grows.

I am confident you will address his concerns in a timely fashion. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Please address any questions you may have to Dean Baldukas of my Middleton office.

[Writer's Name and Title Withheld]