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Region 5 News Release: 12-288-CHI
March 6, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6876      312-353-6876
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

OSHA establishes local emphasis program to protect workers
on Wisconsin dairy farms from common hazards
Dangers are related to vehicle and machine operations, animal handling and other functions

CHICAGO – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established a local emphasis program to protect workers from hazards found on Wisconsin dairy farms, such as those related to manure storage, lack of vehicle roll-over protection, machine guarding, confined spaces and animal handling.

"Far too many workers are injured and killed in preventable incidents at dairy farms in Wisconsin," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire, Wis. "This program will enable OSHA inspectors to visit dairy farms and ensure that all required measures are taken to protect workers."

According to Wisconsin Dairy Farm Census of Agriculture data, an estimated 34,000 employees work on the state's dairy farms. Wisconsin currently has nearly 12,000 licensed dairy producers, who generate more than 26 billion pounds of milk annually. Approximately 40 percent of hired farm laborers are immigrants, who may be less familiar than other workers with safety and health rights and responsibilities.

Since 2006, OSHA has conducted five fatality inspections at dairy farms in Wisconsin. Hazards cited have been related to animal handling, tractor rollover protection and manure pits.

Under the new program, OSHA will conduct comprehensive safety and health inspections at dairy farms with more than 10 non-immediate family member employees and those that have had an active temporary labor camp within the last 12 months. Each inspection will include detailed questions to gather facts about common hazards related to horizontal bunker silos, control of hazardous energy, skid-steer and tractor operations, and hazard communication.

Local emphasis programs are enforcement strategies designed and implemented at OSHA's regional and/or area office levels. They address hazards or industries that pose a particular risk to workers in an office's jurisdiction and often are accompanied by outreach in the form of informational mailings, training at local trade shows, and speeches at meetings of industry groups and labor organizations to create awareness among employers.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Eau Claire office at 715-832-9019.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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