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OSHA and Your Rights on a Farm in Nebraska

By Jason Bottlinger on April 27, 2020

Farmers are the backbone of America. Without the millions of farmers working grueling hours at challenging tasks, we wouldn’t have food on our tables, or much of a national economy. Unfortunately, working on a farm comes with a host of risks and is rated as the most dangerous job in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To protect the health and safety of farmers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces numerous safety rules and regulations that, when followed, significantly reduce the risk of injury. As a farmer, you must understand these regulations and how they affect your safety on a farm and your right to compensation.

Your Rights as a Farm Worker

Among other legal guidelines, OSHA lists several rights that you have as a worker on a farm:

  • The right to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm
  • The right to work on safe machines
  • The right to receive safety gear, including gloves, harnesses, lifelines and anything else needed to ensure your safety in a hazardous situation
  • The right to be protected from toxic chemicals
  • The right to receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary you understand) about workplace hazards, how to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to your workplace
  • The right to review records of previous work-related injuries and illnesses
  • The right to receive copies of tests done to locate any hazards in your workplace
  • The right to file a complaint asking OSHA to perform an inspection of their workplace if they feel there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA safety guidelines. Your identity in such a complaint is kept confidential.
  • The right to exercise your rights without risk of retaliation from your employer

Everything is Regulated

Over the years, OSHA has developed safety regulations and guidelines that apply to virtually any work scenario, including:

  • Working in confined spaces
  • Working from heights
  • Working on and around tractors and other heavy equipment
  • Working with or around toxic chemicals
  • Working with animals
  • Emergency preparedness in case of a disaster, whether it’s man-made or natural

Unlike some other states, Nebraska does not have its own set of regulations, which means that the federal OSHA regulations fully govern all private workplaces. As a worker, you must learn what these regulations are and make sure they are followed by your employer, those around you, and yourself.

What About Small Farms?

If a farm has less than ten employees at any given time throughout the year, that farm may be exempt from OSHA enforcement of regulations. Fortunately, this exemption does not mean that small farms aren’t required to maintain safe environments for workers – it only means they will not experience routine inspections and enforcement.

What to Do if You Suffer an Injury While Working on a Farm

If you’ve suffered a severe injury while working on a farm, there’s a high likelihood that one or more OSHA regulations were violated. If your injury was due to the negligence of another, you might have the right to sue for financial compensation. Your best option is to contact an experienced Nebraska personal injury attorney as soon as you can so we can immediately investigate the circumstances of your injury and prepare a case on your behalf.

If you or a loved one has suffered in such a situation, contact our accomplished legal team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. today at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation.

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