The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t investigate farm deaths, like Brandon Mullen’s in Iowa in 2013, because of a fateful decision by Congress more than 40 years ago that has given small farms unique immunity from safety oversight. A Fairwarning.org report.
Support from Iowa lawmakers for stricter farm safety regulation does not exist in the new legislative session. This is despite agriculture being Iowa’s deadliest occupation and limited Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforcement and coverage. No one is pushing for state remedies, or calling for a federal government they distrust to improve farm safety to step in. Moreover, Gov. Terry Branstad says he would not support a new or more aggressive program for agricultural safety. “I think that would be a detriment to agriculture,” Branstad told IowaWatch in an interview at the opening of the session.
WMT Radio’s Bob Bruce interviewed IowaWatch Executive Director-Editor Lyle Muller on Nov. 21 about IowaWatch’s series on farm safety, “In A Matter Of Seconds”. You can listen to a podcast of the interview here:
ByRobert Holly/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
OSHA’s federal guidelines prohibit it from enforcing regulations through inspections on both family farms and farms that employ fewer than 10 workers. Consequently, many places left vulnerable to grain-bin accidents are neglected.