The Occupational Safety and Health Administration

In order to ensure that employers are providing their employees with safe and healthy working conditions, in 1970, the U.S. government passed a law called the Occupational Safety and Health Act. When this law passed Congress, an administration was created to oversee and enforce the new workplace health and safety standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government body that sets the standards all employers must follow. Some of the standards that have been set are:

  • Employers must limit the amount of hazardous chemicals their workers can be exposed to
  • Required use of safety equipment
  • Employers must keep records of workplace injuries and illnesses.

Employers with ten or more employees who are not part of his or her immediate family, are required to follow the health and safety standards enforced by OSHA.

OSHA also provides information and safety training to workers and employers. It is required that the training be conducted in the language and vocabulary the workers can understand.

The following are regulations that agricultural employers must follow in order to stay compliant with OSHA standards:

  • Temporary labor camps must provide shelter, a clean water supply, toilet facilities, lighting, trash disposal, an operating kitchen, feeding facilities, insect and rodent control and also first aid.
  • Agricultural employers are required to provide employees who work in the fields with potable drinking water, toilet facilities and handwashing facilities (these facilities must be well maintained). Training must be provided to inform the employees about the practice of good hygiene.
  • Employers are required to provide employees with information about hazardous chemicals and pesticides which they might be exposed to.

If you have questions, need additional information, want to file a complaint, or would like to contact OSHA, please call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)- Spanish and English options are available or visit http://www.osha.gov.

If you file a complaint against your workplace with OSHA, it will be kept confidential. It is a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for an employer to fire, demote, transfer or discriminate against a worker for filing a complaint using their OSHA rights.