The farming industry is notorious for its high injury and fatality rates with case after case reported of workers, including minors, being caught in heavy machinery or crashing or being run over. Georgia residents might assume that OSHA has the ability to investigate these incidents, penalize the farm owners and do everything else that comes with enforcing its safety standards, but this is not true.
Farms with 10 or fewer employees are not under OSHA oversight. This is according to a rider that Congress attached to OSHA’s budget back in 1976, and it has been that way ever since despite several attempts at an amendment.
One attempt was made in 1999 when a Rhode Island senator proposed a bill to permit OSHA to investigate fatal accidents on small farms where the decedent was a minor. Once it determined the cause of death, however, OSHA would have had zero authority to penalize. The senator actually withdrew the bill before it was voted on.
Twenty years later, a representative from Connecticut tried to remove the rider, saying that it’s adversely affecting many ethnic and racial minorities. This attempt also failed. It should be remembered that OSHA itself criticized the Obama Administration when it cited a small Nebraska farm for safety violations.
Some farmworkers are not covered under workers’ compensation law, so in the wake of a farming accident, the victim may want to learn more about the laws from an attorney. If it’s possible to file a claim, the attorney may help with each step, even the filing of any appeals. In the end, the victim may hopefully be reimbursed for all medical expenses, including the cost of medical treatments and prescription drugs, short- or long-term disability leave, and a portion of lost wages.