Where do you turn to keep up with these confusing and constantly changing regulations? Ease the stress with help from Michigan Farm Bureau's (MFB) Agricultural Labor and Safety Services (ALSS) program. Formerly known as the Regulatory Compliance Assistance Program, ALSS offers an extensive menu of free and fee-based services including individualized and full-service safety programs; labor management seminars; farm safety seminars; employer-required compliance posters; subscription newsletter covering labor, safety, environmental and regulatory information; Spanish translation services; and checklists and guides.
ALSS services help employers with the documentation essential to minimizing enforcement actions. ALSS programs also have a proven record of reducing injuries on farms and agribusinesses. For instance, the full-service safety programs provide facility safety surveys, written safety programs, consulting on many regulatory issues and employee, management and owner training.
Farmer's Transportation Guidebook: MFB works closely with the Michigan State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division to keep farmer members apprised of laws and regulations pertaining to transportation and road safety.
Farm emergency preparedness: Michigan agriculture recently experienced an increase in the number of fatalities related to farm activity. ALSS works with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to modify general Safety and Health Management System guidelines for use in agricultural operations.
Farm hazard assessment checklists: Conduct a self analysis using the checklists available and make your farm a safe work environment.
Employee Code of Animal and Environmental Care: As a responsible farmer and agricultural professional, you care about the well-being of your farm animals and the environment. You should expect no less of your employees. A Farm Bureau member created an Employee Code of Animal and Environmental Care. Employees are asked to sign the form, acknowledging they understand their responsibilities and pledge to report any incident of harm to animals or the environment.
Agriculture child labor regulations: Youth working on farms, whether family members or not, are governed by agriculture-specific labor rules. Certain job responsibilities, however, might not be considered "agricultural" work. To ease confusion for employers and farm families, MFB, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Education, produced the Production Agriculture Child Labor Regulations Guidebook.
Ag Labor and Safety consulting services for individual farms: Many existing consultants offer limited or no services related to agricultural labor and safety requirements because the rules are time consuming, detailed in nature and can vary from farm to farm. MFB's ALSS program solves this problem. ALSS meets the needs of individual farms and assists employers in recognizing, understanding and meeting their regulatory obligations in a manner that looks at the business in its entirety. Highlighted here are available ALSS consulting services for individual farms. For more information or to request a service, call 517-323-7000 and ask for Corina Salinaz, ext. 2411, or email us.
Safety - MIOSHA/OSHA: "Agricultural" operations are covered by a limited number of Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) standards. However, many farms are vertically integrated and have "agricultural" as well as "non-agricultural" work activities within the same enterprise. Examples include certain packing and processing operations, storage facilities, retail farm markets and farm services. Businesses of this kind are often subject to more than 100 workplace standards that cover general industry. ALSS focuses its program development on areas where the agriculture industry has experienced significant injuries and fatalities, as well as site-specific issues that could lead to agency inspections. ALSS offers facility safety reviews, development of operation and crop-specific training materials and creation of comprehensive safety programs.Wage and Hour - Department of Labor: Determine "agriculture" versus "non-agricultural" work to guarantee employers follow the proper regulations, provide documentation reviews of items such as wage records, payroll statements, age records and deductions, assist employers in completing Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act disclosures, including guidance on what to include and pitfalls to avoid.Immigration: Review Form I-9s and train employers and their staff on how to complete the paperwork and minimize risks of discrimination and violations for form completion and/or record retention, audit Form I-9 documents and develop procedures designed to minimize violations in the event of an audit, provide H2A Agricultural Guest Worker Program preparatory services that train employers on H2A program requirements and provide referrals to H2A facilitators, audit H2A programs to determine if a farm business is meeting its contractual obligations during the course of an approved contract period.Transportation: Review individual farms to determine if an operation's drivers meet the "farm vehicle driver" definition and qualify for certain agricultural exceptions, assist farms in complying with transportation regulations by reviewing vehicle markings, farm equipment use on roads and vehicle inspection procedures.
Good Agricultural Practices: Develop site-specific written plans to meet the federal Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification requirements, in-season reviews provide assist in GAP re-certifications and GAP compliance.Food safety and security: Review agricultural packing facilities for compliance with safety and security requirements, determine risk areas based on industry guidelines.Staff and employee training (available in English and Spanish): On-site training in employment, safety and environmental matters including, but not limited to, new hire procedures; forklift training; farm equipment operation; lockout/tagout (disabling machinery/equipment until the completion of maintenance or service work); permit-required confined spaces; grain storage safety; hot work (e.g. welding, cutting, brazing); hazard communication (Employee Right-to-Know); respiratory protection; emergency action plan; fire prevention; discharge response; bloodborne pathogens; and hearing conservation.
Help employers need-Labor management seminars: Highlighted here are available labor management seminar topics offered by the MFB ALSS Department. Seminars are typically offered during the winter or spring seasons for a fee. Attendees gain significant knowledge and receive appropriate course and/or regulatory materials. For more information or to request a seminar, call 517-323-7000 and ask for Corina Salinaz, ext. 2411, or email us.
Immigration issues: This seminar reviews the Form I-9 completion requirements, focusing on each requirement to assure an employer prevents the knowing hire of unauthorized workers while still meeting anti-discrimination and retention/re-verification laws. It also covers self-audit procedures and provides tips on how to correct mistakes and/or modify procedures to minimize risks in the event of a federal employer Form I-9 audit.Employment recruiting options: This seminar examines federal, state and third-party employee recruitment options, including the pros and cons of each. It covers the use of farm labor contractors, with a focus on proper disclosures when using the services of a licensed farm labor contractor. The seminar also addresses the federal H2A program and how procedures have evolved under new H2A rules.Youth employment: The withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor's proposed rule on agricultural child labor does not mean there are no rules for youth employment on farms. To the contrary, there are significant federal and, to a lesser extent, state rules that cover youth employment on farms. Critical is an understanding of when work on a farm is not considered "farm work" or "agricultural." This seminar teaches how many jobs are prohibited for younger workers, and how an activity may be allowed on one area of the farm but be prohibited on another. Complaints and injuries are the primary triggers for federal farm inspections. Recently, however, various agencies have targeted farm employers for inspections. This seminar covers what enforcement agencies are looking for, what they have found and how to minimize your risks prior to being selected for a "random" inspection.Employer/employee rights and responsibilities: Employers and employees both have rights. Recognizing these rights can minimize the risk of legal actions, agency violations and public relations fiascos. This seminar teaches what you can do to minimize your risk by understanding these responsibilities.Documentation requirements/recommendation: Record-keeping rules cross a large number of laws and regulations. On top of this are Industry Consensus Standards. This seminar covers the various record requirements and offers tips on how to make recordkeeping easier.Livestock and dairy labor management: The livestock and dairy workforce have changed dramatically over recent years. With the change has come a significant increase in labor law compliance. This seminar outlines the issues that could "cost the farm" and management changes that can "save the farm."
All of this information along with downloadable resources can be found on the MFB website, www.michfb.com, or call the office at county Farm Bureau office at 989-426-2353.