Field Sanitation Safety

OSHA regulations establish field sanitation requirements for agricultural settings. This page discusses the nature of the requirements, as well as which employers and activities are covered by them.

Employers & Activities Subject to Requirements

OSHA field sanitation requirements apply to agricultural establishments with 11 or more employees engaged on any given day in hand-labor operations in the field.

  • An agricultural establishment is a business operation that uses paid employees in the production of food, fiber, or other materials such as seed, seedlings, plants, or parts of plants.
  • An agricultural employer means any person, corporation, association, or other legal entity that:  
    • Owns or operates an agricultural establishment;
    • Contracts with the owner or operator of an agricultural establishment in advance of production for the purchase of a crop and exercises substantial control over production; or
    • Recruits and supervises employees or is responsible for the management and condition of an agricultural establishment.
  • Hand-labor operations consist of: 
    • Agricultural activities or agricultural operations performed by hand or with hand tools; and
    • Other activities or operations performed in conjunction with hand labor in the field.

Some examples of hand labor operations are the hand-cultivation, hand-weeding, hand-planting and hand-harvesting of vegetables, nuts, fruits, seedlings or other crops, including mushrooms, and the hand packing of produce into containers, whether done on the ground, on a moving machine, or in a temporary packing shed located in the field.

Note: "Hand-labor" does not include such activities as logging operations, the care or feeding of livestock, or hand-labor operations in permanent structures (e.g., canning facilities or packing houses).

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