WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) defended small family farms against unnecessary regulation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  OSHA is prohibited by law from using funds to regulate growing, harvesting, and “related activities” of farms with 10 or fewer employees.  However, the agency published a memo in 2011 indicating that grain “handling” did not meet the definition of an activity directly related to growing and harvesting and could thus be subject to OSHA regulation.  The memo has since been broadly interpreted to allow OSHA inspectors to regulate the activities of small farms.

In a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, Congressman Jones and 82 of his colleagues expressed their concern with OSHA’s interference on small farms and requested that action be taken to ensure that OSHA adheres to the intent of the law, which is to prevent regulation of any aspect of a farming operation with 10 or fewer employees.  The signers of the letter further clarified that the only manner in which OSHA could be given authority to regulate small farms is through a law passed by Congress.

“OSHA’s decision to unlawfully regulate family farms is just one more example of the federal government’s overreach into American lives and businesses,” said Congressman Jones.  “The last thing Eastern North Carolinians need is more government regulation.  Instead, I am committed to working to create jobs and grow the economy – and that means less unnecessary government interference.”

The full text of the letter is available at the link below.

1.28.14 Letter to Labor Secretary Perez_OSHA.pdf

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