WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) formed a safety goal-oriented alliance with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA).

It will work to provide training resources and information on protecting the health, safety, and security of workers, emergency responders, and communities surrounding establishments in the agricultural retail and supply industry.

“This alliance underscores our collective commitment to addressing industry hazards, and developing best practices to help improve the safety and security of chemical storage, and protect the lives of workers and residents,” said Loren Sweatt, acting assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

During the two-year alliance, participants will focus on the safe storage and handling of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia — materials used in fertilizers. Alliance participants also will share emergency response information with agribusiness communities and first responders. With assistance from industry training organization ResponsibleAg Inc., the alliance will help agricultural retail facilities comply with safety and health standards for safe handling and storage of fertilizer products.

“Safety is much larger than one person or one company,” said Daren Coppock, president and chief executive officer of the ARA. “Safety also means being a good steward — a good steward of the land, business, employees, and the communities in which we operate. This alliance is a positive step for ARA, TFI, and OSHA to work together on an issue that is top of mind for ag retailers.”

Prior to the official recognition of this alliance, OSHA, in cooperation with the ARA, TFI, and ResponsibleAg Inc., developed a video that describes the agency’s inspection process under the Regional Emphasis Program for Fertilizer Grade Ammonium Nitrate and Agricultural Anhydrous Ammonia Facilities. The video is one of the first products under the alliance agreement.

 Additional objectives of the alliance include:

  • Further leveraging the success of the ResponsibleAg program;
  • Sharing information on OSHA’s National Initiatives and opportunities to participate in initiatives and the rulemaking process;
  • Sharing information on occupational safety and health laws and standards, including the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers;
  • Speaking, exhibiting or appearing at OSHA, TFI and ARA conferences, local meetings or other events, including the OSHA Alliance Program Forum;
  • Sharing information among OSHA personnel and industry safety and health professionals regarding TFI and ARA good practices or effective approaches through training programs, workshops, seminars and lectures; and,
  • Encouraging TFI Local Sections and ARA members to build relationships with OSHA Regional and Area Offices to address health and safety issues, including the safe storage and handling of fertilizers.

The alliance will remain in effect for two years, with representatives from each organization meeting periodically to discuss the responsibilities of the participants, to share information on activities and to track results in achieving the goals of the alliance.

ARA is a non-profit trade association representing agricultural retailers and distributors nationwide on legislative and regulatory issues.

TFI represents employers involved in fertilizer manufacturing, importing, exporting, and retailing to farmers.