OR-OSHA ready for agricultural labor season
The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OR-OSHA) is employing
a number of new strategies this agricultural growing season to ensure
that workers and families living in agricultural labor housing around
the state are afforded a basic standard for health and safety where
Registration Numbers Close to 2001 Season
All agricultural labor housing operators in Oregon are required to
register their dwelling unit with OR-OSHA. Upon the initial registration
of a dwelling, the housing operator is required to receive a pre-occupancy
consultation report from OR-OSHA. Active labor housing units are also
subject to inspection by OR-OSHA officers to enforce minimum living
standards for occupants.
As of June 15th, 322 dwelling units have registered with OR-OSHA for
the 2002 growing season, close to the 2001 total of 333. The majority
of registered agricultural labor units are in the Mid-Columbia region
of Oregon (Hood River and Wasco counties).
Number of Agriculture Labor Housing operations registered with OR-OSHA
|| 2001 Total
|| 2002 (To June 15)
| Hood River
Compliance Officers Target Willamette Valley
One key recommendation of the Interim Task Force on Farmworker Housing
in 2000 was that locating unregistered housing operators should be
a major enforcement priority for OR-OSHA. The panel was established
by the 1999 Legislature to address farmworker housing issues. OR-OSHA
is dedicating two compliance officers to work full-time during the
summer months on locating unregistered agricultural labor housing
facilities. The compliance officers will be using a number of data
sources and information to assist in locating unregistered housing,
including public records searches, agricultural production data, interviews
and field investigations.
"Our compliance officers will be attempting to locate potential
housing units which are not currently registered," says Nancy
Cody, enforcement manager for OR-OSHA's Salem field office. During
the 2002 season, the two officers will be targeting Marion, Polk,
Yamhill, Washington and Clackamas counties for investigation, however
OR-OSHA will continue to investigate reports of unregistered labor
housing throughout Oregon.
OR-OSHA Needs Help from You
Obtaining information from community members is one of the many sources
of information the agricultural housing compliance officers are counting
on to investigate reports of unregistered housing. If you suspect
a housing facility may not be registered with OR-OSHA, please call
800-922-2689 toll free within Oregon to pass along information. Your
information will be kept confidential.
Increased Penalties for Not Registering
The penalty for failure to register an agricultural labor housing
operation has increased to $5000 this year from the former penalty
of $2500. Ten persons were issued citations for failure to register
an agricultural labor housing operation during 2001, and 158 agricultural
labor housing facilities were inspected by OR-OSHA in 2001.
For additional information about OR-OSHA's agricultural labor housing
enforcement program, please contact the Salem Field Office at 503-378-3274
or toll-free in Oregon, 800-922-2689.