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npk fertilizer in farmer hand

OSHA Launches Program to Address Ammonium Hazards

Agency will focus on toxic gases and hazardous chemicals in the farming process.

Agricultural workers face a variety of risks when it comes to handling chemicals and pesticides used in farming.

AOSHA has launched a new regional program to address hazards from exposure to fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) and agricultural anhydrous ammonium.

“This program is an enforcement tool to emphasize the obligations under existing OSHA standards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille in Kansas City, Mo. in a statement. “The 90-day outreach period is an opportunity for employers to proactively seek compliance assistance to ensure they are adequately protecting workers.”

The agency's Regional Emphasis Program (REP) will cover seven states including Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Workers employed in the fertilizer storage, mixing/blending, and distribution industry can face hazards that can lead to serious injury, illness and death, including fire and explosions, as well as exposure to toxic gases and hazardous chemicals, OSHA stated.

The program begins Oct. 1, 2018, at which point three months of education and prevention outreach will begin. Following that period, OSHA will begin enforcement.

“The goal is to improve worker safety and reduce the potential for catastrophic incidents,” said Eric Harbin, OSHA's Acting Regional Administrator in Dallas, in a statement. “At the end of the day, we want to ensure workers go home safely to their families.”

Information on hazards and methods for control is available on OSHA's website. The agency offers compliance assistance to all employers at no charge. Each state has an On-Site consultation program, a free and confidential program to help small- and medium-sized employers learn about potential hazards at their workplace and improve safety and health programs.

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