Small Farms Hit In Labor Sting

 Small family farmers must follow the same regulations from California DIR (Department of Industrial Relations) regarding OSHA and Labor codes as medium and large sized farms. The owner of the farm on record is exempt, but everyone else is considered an employee, whether they are the spouse, children, or other relative (paid or unpaid), says Richard Molinar of University of California Cooperative Extension.

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The farmer must have a workers’ compensation policy for the farm to cover the workers. The cost for this policy starts at around $450. The grower must also have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) and Heat Illness Prevention Procedures (both written documents) as well as training records of the employees, says Molinar.

During these summer months, inspectors from DIR randomly check farms throughout the state for these items, as well as worker sanitation facilities and other regulations to ensure the safety of employees. Case in point, says Molinar, a refugee strawberry farmer who speaks very little English was cited $2,000 by Labor Standards Enforcement for not having workers’ compensation insurance for his wife and uncle (his only two helpers) who work on their half acre strawberry patch next to their home in Visalia and only sell the berries from their roadside stand. He was also fined $195 for not having a documented IIPP and $260 for no documented heat illness prevention program for his wife and uncle.

The farmer, his wife and uncle, were the victims of a DIR EEEC (Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition) “sweep” composed of OSHA and Labor inspectors in June 2010. The take-home message here is that the law applies to everyone – regardless of size or who is helping you on the farm, Molinar concludes.

Growers can find out more about various regulations required on the farm by contacting Molinar or Michael Yang in the Fresno UC Cooperative Extension Office at 559-456-7285.

Leave a Reply

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

So even though he is probably not making minimum wage with both him and his wife working more hours than the average American they cite him for $2000!

He should just forget doing trying to be productive and go on welfare. It’s the New American Dream.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

What the Heck.
Who allowed this all to happen?
What is the country comming to.
Tea party is the way to go !
Very upset this is happening.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This is evidence of the intentional break down of the American family. These socialist bureaucrats should applaud their effort as they were all working for the collective.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

More than upset!
Where’s the legal force to repel these laws?
It’s time to sweep DIR EEEC out the American door.
Or, aren’t we called America anymore?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

very poor discretionary judgement by regulators -it seems to me at first glance.
i wonder is the goal here to get people to comply or to throttle them ?
this seems so out of proportion.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I agree on the TEA PARTY!!! We have far too much goverment and do far too little for the small businessman. Our best defence is in the voting booth. Its time for career politicians to take a hike. Vote like your life depends on it!!!!!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I wonder what pesticides are currently labeled in CA for control of the DIR EEEC???

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Welcome to the New World Order!!!!
This action of the government is refred to as Collectivism!!! In other words Communism. This is undoubtedly the latest move to destroy the small family farms in favor of mega farms run by the corporations.
If you think this is bad wait until the government is knocking on your front door demanding you change the windows in your homes because they do not meet code when cap and trade gets passed later this year!!!!!!!!!
WAKE UP BEFOR IT IS TOO LATE!!!!!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Does anyone know this poor guy’s name and address?
I’d like to help him pay his fine. This is garbage.
Too bad these “saftey inspectors” weren’t laid off with the budget cuts.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Glad to see I wasn’t the only one to think these regulations were unfair. It is very frustrating when you try to balance “the Law” with fairness. The courts don’t care about what is fair- only about enforcing the letter of the law. Let me tell you about the $750 fine for a roll of toilet paper. This is California for you -the golden state

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Millions of us grew up on family farms and I guess we were all not following the regulations, is this the end of the US family farm? If so where do these regulators expect to get their food? EPA and these government agencies need to be controlled. Vote for real change.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

So even though he is probably not making minimum wage with both him and his wife working more hours than the average American they cite him for $2000!

He should just forget doing trying to be productive and go on welfare. It’s the New American Dream.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

What the Heck.
Who allowed this all to happen?
What is the country comming to.
Tea party is the way to go !
Very upset this is happening.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This is evidence of the intentional break down of the American family. These socialist bureaucrats should applaud their effort as they were all working for the collective.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

More than upset!
Where’s the legal force to repel these laws?
It’s time to sweep DIR EEEC out the American door.
Or, aren’t we called America anymore?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

very poor discretionary judgement by regulators -it seems to me at first glance.
i wonder is the goal here to get people to comply or to throttle them ?
this seems so out of proportion.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I agree on the TEA PARTY!!! We have far too much goverment and do far too little for the small businessman. Our best defence is in the voting booth. Its time for career politicians to take a hike. Vote like your life depends on it!!!!!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I wonder what pesticides are currently labeled in CA for control of the DIR EEEC???

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Welcome to the New World Order!!!!
This action of the government is refred to as Collectivism!!! In other words Communism. This is undoubtedly the latest move to destroy the small family farms in favor of mega farms run by the corporations.
If you think this is bad wait until the government is knocking on your front door demanding you change the windows in your homes because they do not meet code when cap and trade gets passed later this year!!!!!!!!!
WAKE UP BEFOR IT IS TOO LATE!!!!!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Does anyone know this poor guy’s name and address?
I’d like to help him pay his fine. This is garbage.
Too bad these “saftey inspectors” weren’t laid off with the budget cuts.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Glad to see I wasn’t the only one to think these regulations were unfair. It is very frustrating when you try to balance “the Law” with fairness. The courts don’t care about what is fair- only about enforcing the letter of the law. Let me tell you about the $750 fine for a roll of toilet paper. This is California for you -the golden state

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Millions of us grew up on family farms and I guess we were all not following the regulations, is this the end of the US family farm? If so where do these regulators expect to get their food? EPA and these government agencies need to be controlled. Vote for real change.