Agricultural Secretary urges more renewable energy and energy efficiency projects
On January 20, 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was looking for applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and small businesses to perform various energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
"Renewable energy development presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America," said Vilsack. "This funding will assist rural farmers, ranchers and business owners to build renewable energy projects, providing opportunities for new technologies, create green jobs and help America become more energy self-sufficient."
Funding for these projects is available through the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The program was created to help the nation meet its critical energy needs and to help rural businesses and agricultural producers reduce their energy consumption and cost.
As more green jobs appear and the use of alternative fuel sources, such as biofuels, becomes more common, employers must be aware of the standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Green job hazards in the biofuels industry include fire/explosion hazards and chemical reactivity and toxicity hazards in the manufacturing of biofuel.
Minimize these risks by implementing procedures for using appropriate lockout/tagout devices while servicing or repairing equipment and ensure workers wear proper safety products, such as protective clothing, head and face protection, and respiratory protection.
As the demand for low-carbon, domestically sourced fuels increases, employers will need to comply with such standards to ensure the safety of all workers.