RULES AND REGULATIONS
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
[7 PA. CODE CHS. 138g and 138k]
Farm Safety and Occupational Health Grant Program
[31 Pa.B. 2110]
The Department of Agriculture (Department) has established regulations authorized and required under the Farm Safety and Occupational Health Act (act) (3 P. S. §§ 1901--1915).
The Department has the power and authority to adopt these regulations. This authority includes:
(1) The general authority to adopt rules and regulations conferred by section 5 of the act (3 P. S. § 1905), which delineates the duties of the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) and directs the Secretary to ''. . .adopt and promulgate any regulations which may be necessary to implement and administer the act.''
(2) The specific authority conferred by section 6(c)(2) of the act (3 P. S. § 1906(c)(2)) which authorizes the Secretary to establish a grant program for the purpose of awarding grants to Statewide farm organizations and volunteer fire companies, ambulance services and rescue squads for providing farm safety, occupational health and emergency response programs.
(3) The specific duty and authority as set forth in section 6(d) of the act, which requires the Secretary to adopt and promulgate regulations to govern the awarding of grants under section 6 of the act.
Need for the Regulations
The regulations delineate the objectives of the Farm Safety and Occupational Health Grant Program (FSOH) and establish the procedures governing the submission, processing and review of grant applications. In addition, the regulations set forth the documentation required to accompany the applications, eligibility criteria, criteria and verification, cancellation, notification and reporting requirements. The regulations assure fair and impartial review of FSOH grant applications. These regulations establish a grant program which will make funds available to Statewide farm organizations and volunteer fire companies, ambulance services and rescue squads for providing farm safety, occupational health and emergency response programs.
This Commonwealth's approximately 51,000 farms are the foundation of a $35 billion industry, employing over 650,000 workers in farming and related services, food processing and food wholesale and retail sales. The National Safety Council reports agriculture as this Nation's most hazardous industry, with a work death rate 22% higher than the second most hazardous industry, mining and quarrying. Farming accounts for over 80% of agriculture's injury toll. From 1990 through 1995, at least 249 Commonwealth citizens have lost their lives to hazards associated with farming. The victims included 17 infants, toddlers and preschoolers--all under 5 years of age. Another 29 victims were at least 75 years of age. The oldest victim was 89 years old. In 1994, a Statewide survey showed one in every ten farm operations in this Commonwealth had at least one recordable work-related injury. Even more startling was that approximately 5% of those injuries resulted in some type of permanent disability to the victim. The numbers evidence the need for farm safety and occupational health programs. In 1994 alone, there were a total of 5,100 injuries and 250 permanent disability injuries related to farming. Therefore, the regulations should ultimately benefit both the farming community and the general public.
In summary, the Department is satisfied there is a need for the regulations, and that they are otherwise consistent with Executive Order 1996-1, ''Regulatory Review and Promulgation.''
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 30 Pa.B. 781 (February 12, 2000), and provided for a 30-day public comment period.
Comments were received from the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC).
Comment: IRRC commented on § 138k.1 (relating to Program objectives) of the proposed regulations. IRRC was concerned with the consistency of the section with the Farm Safety and Occupational Health Tuition Assistance Program (FSOHTAP), published at 30 Pa.B. 771 , and the Farm Safety and Occupational Health Developmental and Instructional Program (FSOHDIP), published at 30 Pa.B. 776. IRRC was also concerned with the clarity of the section. IRRC commented that § 138k.1(b) of the proposed regulations stated, in part, that ''Grant requests. . .will. . .be reviewed by the Board. . .'' IRRC commented that giving the Farm Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Board (Board) this duty is inconsistent with similar provisions in the two simultaneously proposed regulations (FSOHTAP and FSOHDIP) submitted to IRRC for review. In addition, IRRC was concerned that the Board only met three times annually and the regulations require the Department to review and approve grant applications within 30 days. Therefore, IRRC stated it was not feasible to include the Board in the review of each application and the Department should revise the regulations to be consistent with the other two regulations (FSOHTAP and FSOHDIP).
Response: The Department agrees the language of § 138k.1(b) of the proposed regulations should be revised to be consistent with the other two regulations and because including the Board in the review of each application is not feasible. In addition, giving the Board that power is inconsistent with section 3(g) of the act (3 P. S. § 1903(g)), which establishes the duties of the Advisory Board. The Department has deleted the language regarding review by the Board and has replaced it with ''reviewed by the Secretary or a designee.'' This language is consistent with the language of the other two regulations.
Comment: IRRC commented that the term ''Board'' in the definitions section of the regulations and the term ''Advisory Board'' in the act both refer to the ''Farm Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Board.'' They suggested that for consistency with the statute, the Department should replace the term ''Board'' with the term ''Advisory Board.''
Response: The Department agrees the terms in the regulations should be consistent with the terms in the act. The Department has changed the term ''Board'' to ''Advisory Board'' in § 138k.2 (relating to definitions) of the final-form regulations. In addition, in the final-form regulations all references to ''Board'' have been changed to ''Advisory Board.''
Comment: IRRC had two comments with regard to the clarity of § 138k.4 (relating to general conditions) of the proposed regulations. First, IRRC commented that another part of the proposed regulations, § 138k.6(a) (relating to processing of applications), sets forth a list of attachments to an application. IRRC suggested that in order to improve clarity, the contents of § 138k.6(a) should be moved to § 138k.4 of the proposed regulations. Alternatively, IRRC suggested the contents could be placed in a new section captioned ''application requirements'' following § 138k.4 and preceding § 138k.5 (relating to applications generally) of the proposed regulations.
IRRC's second comment with regard to § 138k.4 concerned the fact that the proposed regulations require the applicant to complete and submit grant application forms, but does not list the basic information required on a grant application form. IRRC suggested the Department should include basic information on the contents of the application form in this section.
Response: With regard to IRRC's first comment on § 138k.4, the Department agrees that placing the contents of § 138k.6(a) of the proposed regulations into the section regarding ''applications generally'' would add clarity to the regulations. In the final-form regulations, the Department has placed a subsection entitled ''grant application requirements'' into § 138k.5(b) of the final-form regulations. In addition, the language of § 138k.5(b) has been revised to be consistent with the other two regulations (FSOHTAP and FSOHDIP) submitted to IRRC for review.
With regard to IRRC's second comment concerning § 138k.4, the Department believes that the revised language in § 138k.5 of the final-form regulations and specifically the language in subsection (b) addresses IRRC's concern. In addition, the Department believes it is not required to specifically define the contents of application forms in the regulations.
Comment: IRRC commented with regard to the reasonableness and clarity of § 138k.6(b) of the proposed regulations. Section 138k.6(b) of the proposed regulations sets forth the factors the Secretary would consider when reviewing a grant application. IRRC suggested the Department should include a reference to § 138k.3(c) (relating to limitations on grant) of the proposed regulations. Section 138k.3(c) of the proposed regulations sets forth the type of projects for which FSOH grants may be awarded.
Response: The Department agrees such a reference would add clarity to the regulations. Therefore, in the final-form regulations, the Department has added language to § 138k.7(d) (relating to review of applications) which references § 138k.3(c).
Comment: IRRC had three comments concerning reasonableness and clarity with regard to § 138k.7 of the proposed regulations. The first comment concerned the length of time it will take the Department to evaluate an application. The language of § 138k.7 of the proposed regulation states ''Grant applicants will be notified by the Secretary within 30 days of a decision to reject or approve the grant.'' IRRC commented this language did not clarify the length of time it will take the Department to issue a decision once the application is received.
The second comment was with regard to the clarity of the last sentence of § 138k.7 of the proposed regulations. IRRC commented that the sentence did not clearly define what constitutes use of the grant money. IRRC was confused as to whether the grant money had to actually be expended within a year, or if it could be merely committed but not actually spent.
IRRC's third comment regarding this section also focused on the last sentence. IRRC commented that the regulations should also state what happens if the grant funds are not used within 1 year of their receipt. IRRC further commented that this section should indicate how a grant recipient could apply for an extension, what action the Department may take and if that action could include cancellation of the grant under § 138k.10 (relating to recordkeeping) of the proposed regulations.
Response: The Department agrees the language should be revised to further clarify the time period for review of grant applications, what constitutes ''use'' of the grant funds, and to define what actions the Department may take in the event the grant recipient does not comply with this section. With regard to IRRC's first comment, the Department has revised the language of § 138k.8 (relating to notice of disposition of applications) of the final-form regulations to clarify the Department's time period for review. This section and all subsections now state that the grant applicant will be notified ''. . .within 30 days of receipt of a completed grant application of a decision to approve, approve with special conditions or reject the grant application.''
With regard to IRRC's second comment, the Department has revised the language of § 138k.8(c) of the final-form regulations. This section states ''Grant money shall be spent. . .within the time period specified in the grant agreement unless an extension is granted in writing by the Secretary.'' This language clearly states the grant funds must actually be spent and the grant recipient will have a definite time period, set forth in the grant agreement, within which to spend the funds.
The Department responded to IRRC's third comment by adding language to § 138k.8(c) of the final-form regulations. The language delineates how a grant applicant may request an extension of time and sets forth the actions the Department may take if grant funds are not spent within a specified time period. The section states that failure to spend the grant funds within the specified time period will constitute a default and the Secretary may cancel the grant and seek recovery of the grant funds. The language references § 138k.11 (relating to grant cancellation) and § 138k.12 (relating to right of recovery) of the final-form regulations.
In addition, the Department reorganized the section by dividing it into subsections. This adds clarity to the regulations and makes it consistent with the other two farm safety regulations (FSOHTAP and FSOHDIP) submitted to IRRC for review.
Comment: IRRC commented with regard to the reasonableness of the paperwork requirements in § 138k.8 of the proposed regulations. IRRC's comments concerned the fact that grant recipients are required to submit a final report with documentation, and are also required to retain copies of documents and records for 3 years after the grant agreement expires.
Response: The Department requires retention for audit purposes and in case the copies of the records, documents and receipts contained in the final report and the Department's records are ever questioned or challenged.
Comment: IRRC commented with regard to § 138k.9(a) (relating to conflict of interest) of the proposed regulations. IRRC suggested the Department needed to clarify the language of the subsection with regard to the time period for submission of certain reports, receipts and documents. IRRC commented that language sets a definite time period for submission of documentation and receipts but does not delineate a definite time period for submission of the other two reports.
Response: The Department intended for one report containing a narrative and all necessary documentation of costs and receipts to be submitted to the Department within 3 months of the project completion date. In response to this comment and in response to IRRC's suggestion that the format of this regulation should be consistent with the format of the other two farm safety regulations (FSOHTAP and FSOHDIP) submitted to IRRC for review, the Department has made two revisions to the final-form regulations. First, the Department revised the language of the final-form regulations to reflect that only one report, a final report, was necessary, and to reflect that the final report must be submitted within 3 months of the project completion date specified in the grant agreement and must include written receipts, records and any other financial records or documents evidencing the project's costs. Secondly, the Department deleted the section on verification from the final-form regulations and made it into two subsections under § 138k.4 of the final-form regulations. This is consistent with the format of the other two farm safety regulations (FSOHTAP and FSOHDIP) submitted to IRRC for review.
Comment: IRRC commented on four miscellaneous issues. The comments pertained to the clarity of the regulations and their consistency with the other two farm safety regulations (FSOHTAP and FSOHDIP). The first comment regarded adding provisions to the regulations for requesting additional documentation from an applicant when an application is deficient. IRRC commented that the other two farm safety regulations (FSOHDIP and FSOHTAP) contain those provisions. IRRC suggested the Department should include identical provisions in these regulations.
IRRC commented that the other two farm safety regulations (FSOHTAP and FSOHDIP) include provisions suspending processing of an incomplete application until the Department receives the additional data requested. IRRC suggested the Department should include identical provisions in these regulations.
IRRC's third comment was a suggestion that the Department add language to these regulations stating that the Department will confirm in writing all requests for and submission of additional data.
The fourth comment made by IRRC concerned the conflict of interest provision contained in the other two farm safety regulations (FSOHTAP and FSOHDIP) being reviewed by IRRC. IRRC suggested an identical provision be included in these regulations.
Response: The Department agrees with all of IRRC's comments and suggestions regarding miscellaneous provisions. In response to IRRC's first comment, the Department has added language to the final-form regulations regarding the Department's ability to and the process for requesting additional data for incomplete or inaccurate applications. Section 138k.6(b)(3) of the final-form regulations sets forth these provisions.
With regard to IRRC's second comment, the Department has added § 138k.6(b)(3) to the final-form regulations. This section sets forth provisions for suspending the processing of an incomplete or inaccurate application and delineates the time period for submission of requested data.
In response to IRRC's third comment, the Department included language in § 138k.6(b)(3) of the final-form regulations regarding the processing of an incomplete or inaccurate application.
The Department addressed IRRC's fourth comment by adding § 138k.9 to the final-form regulations.
To address IRRC's concerns regarding clarity and consistency among the three farm safety regulations, in addition to the changes noted previously, the Department reformatted these final-form regulations so that the format and language is consistent with the final-form of regulations #2-122 (FSOHDIP) and #2-123 (FSOHTAP).
The final-form regulations will impose minimal costs and have minimal fiscal impact upon the Commonwealth, including projected increases in program costs. The Department has an appropriation for use in developing the various FSOH Grant Programs allowed under section 6 of the act. The Secretary, with the advice of the Board, will determine the amount of funds to allocate to each grant program promulgated under section 6 of the act.
The final-form regulations will impose no direct costs and have no fiscal impact upon political subdivisions.
The final-form regulations will impose minimal costs on those organizations or individuals who are interested in applying for FSOH grants. The costs that may be associated with the regulations would involve the time spent to develop and implement the programs for which grant funds are sought and obtain and fill out a grant application. Organizations and individuals receiving grants would benefit by receiving funds to cover costs associated with developing and implementing the FSOH emergency response programs. The private sector may also benefit through the realization of reduced health care and occupational costs resulting from the educational value, skills learned and technical information presented at the educational and preventative programs developed under and espoused by the act and these regulations.
The final-form regulations will impose no direct costs and have no fiscal impact upon the general public. The farm community and the general public should benefit through the reduction of health care and occupational costs which are likely to result from the emergency response programs developed and implemented under and espoused by the act and these regulations.
The final-form regulations will not result in an appreciable increase of paperwork. The Department will have a grant application form to administer the FSOH Grant Program. However, the administrative provisions of the FSOH Grant Program regulations are very similar to the administrative provisions of the FSOH Grant Program Statement of Policy. The Department has already developed a grant application form and grant agreement for use in administering the FSOH Grant Program and has administered that program, under a Statement of Policy, since 1996.
Further information is available by contacting the Department of Agriculture, Farm Safety and Occupation Health Grant Program, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, Attn: John Tacelosky, (717) 772-5217.
Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on January 31, 2000, the Department submitted a copy of the notice of proposed rulemaking published at 30 Pa.B. 781, to IRRC and to the Chairpersons of the House and Senate Standing Committees on Agriculture and Rural Affairs for review and comment.
Under section 5(c) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC and the Committees were provided with copies of the comments received during the public comment period, as well as other documents when requested. In preparing these final-form regulations, the Department has considered the comments from IRRC, the Committees and the public.
Under section 5.1(d) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5a(d), on February 13, 2001, these final-form regulations were deemed approved by the Committees. Under section 5.1(e) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC met on February 15, 2001, and approved the final-form regulations.
The Department finds that:
(1) Public notice of its intention to adopt the regulations encompassed by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240)(45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations promulgated thereunder at 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.
(2) A public comment period was provided as required by law and all comments received were considered.
(3) The modifications that were made to these regulations in response to comments received do not enlarge the purpose of the proposed regulation published at 30 Pa.B. 781.
(4) The adoption of these regulations in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for the administration of the authorizing statute.
The Department, acting under authority of the authorizing statute, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Department, 7 Pa. Code, are amended by adding §§ 138k.1--138k.13 and by deleting §§ 138g.1--138g.10 to read as set forth in Annex A.
(b) The Secretary shall submit this order and Annex A to the Office of General Counsel and to the Office of Attorney General for review and approval as to legality and form, as required by law.
(c) The Secretary shall certify this order and Annex A and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau, as required by law.
(d) This order shall take effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
(Editor's Note: The adoption of §§ 138k.11--138k.13 was not included with the proposal at 30 Pa.B. 781).
SAMUEL E. HAYES, Jr.,
(Editor's Note: For the text of the order of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, relating to this document, see 31 Pa.B. 1291 (March 3, 2001).)
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 2-119 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.
TITLE 7. AGRICULTURE
PART V-C. FARMLAND AND FOREST LAND
CHAPTER 138g. (Reserved)
§§ 138g.1--138g.10. (Reserved).
CHAPTER 138k. FARM SAFETY AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH GRANT PROGRAM
138k.1. Program objectives. 138k.2. Definitions. 138k.3. Limitations on grants. 138k.4. General conditions. 138k.5. Applications generally. 138k.6. Processing of applications. 138k.7. Review of applications. 138k.8. Notice of disposition of application. 138k.9. Conflict of interest. 138k.10. Recordkeeping. 138k.11. Grant cancellation. 138k.12. Right of recovery. 138k.13. Deficits.
§ 138k.1. Program objectives.
(a) Purpose. The purpose of the Program is to fund projects which will increase the knowledge and awareness of farm safety measures and occupational health issues in this Commonwealth, in particular, among the rural youth of this Commonwealth.
(b) Competitive program. The Program is competitive. Grant requests and related documentation will be collected by the Department and reviewed by the Secretary. Grants will be awarded annually.
(c) Funds available basis. Grants will not be awarded unless funds are available for this purpose.
§ 138k.2. Definitions.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
Act--The Farm Safety and Occupational Health Act (3 P. S. §§ 1901--1915).
Advisory Board--The Farm Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Board.
Department--The Department of Agriculture of the Commonwealth.
Designee--A person chosen or appointed by the Secretary to carry out the Secretary's duties under this chapter.
Eligible applicants--Statewide farm organizations and volunteer fire companies, ambulance services and rescue squads providing farm safety, occupational health and emergency response programs.
Person--An individual, partnership, corporation, association or other form of business enterprise.
Program--The Farm Safety and Occupational Health Grant Program.
Project--The farm safety, occupational health or emergency response program delineated in the applicant's program application.
Secretary--The Secretary of Agriculture of the Commonwealth or a designee.
Statewide farm organizations--The term includes any of the following organizations located in this Commonwealth:
(i) Farmers organizations.
(ii) Dairy organizations.
(iii) Livestock and poultry organizations.
(iv) Veterinary associations.
(v) Commodity organizations.
(vi) Food industry organizations.
(vii) Horticulture and agronomy organizations.
(viii) Agricultural promotional organizations.
(ix) Agricultural equipment organizations, including a local, county or regional chapter thereof.
Volunteer ambulance services--A nonprofit chartered corporation, association or organization located in this Commonwealth and which is regularly engaged in the services of providing emergency medical care and transportation of patients.
Volunteer fire company--A nonprofit chartered corporation, association or organization located in this Commonwealth which provides fire protection services and other voluntary emergency services within this Commonwealth.
Volunteer rescue squad--A nonprofit chartered corporation, association or organization located in this Commonwealth which provides rescue services in this Commonwealth.
§ 138k.3. Limitations on grants.
(a) Financial assistance. The Program will award financial assistance, of up to $2,500, to Statewide farm organizations, volunteer fire companies, ambulance services and rescue squads within this Commonwealth that wish to develop and deliver farm safety, occupational health and emergency response programs.
(b) Grant awards. An eligible applicant may apply for more than one program grant per year. However, an eligible applicant may not be awarded more than $2,500 in Program grants in a fiscal year.
(c) Recipient's use of Program grant funds. A recipient of a Program grant may only use the funds to cover the costs of the specific project/event/activity described in the recipient's approved grant application and signed grant agreement.
(d) Eligible projects. Program grants may be awarded for the following types of projects:
(1) Projects related to methods of preventing or mitigating farm accidents.
(2) Educational programs relating to agricultural equipment safety programs for farm youth.
(3) Educational seminars or field demonstrations relating to first aid programs for farm youth.
(4) Agriculture safety training programs at day camps and demonstration projects for farm youth.
(5) Development and implementation of age-appropriate rural school curricula.
(6) Fire/educational safety programs specific to farms.
(7) Development and implementation of age-appropriate adult farmer and farm worker safety training programs.
(8) Farm related emergency response training programs.
(e) Addition limitations.
(1) Program grant funds may only be used to provide financial assistance for projects administered within the geographic boundaries of this Commonwealth.
(2) Program grant funds may not be used for or applied to any training, programs, activities, certification or licensing requirements or events pertaining to the Pennsylvania Pesticide Control Act of 1973 (3 P. S. §§ 111.21--111.60) or the regulations pertaining to pesticides in Chapters 128 and 128b (relating to pesticides; and Chemsweep Pesticide Disposal Program) or the statement of policy regarding the Chemsweep Pesticide Disposal Program in Chapter 128a (relating to Chempsweep pesticide Disposal Program--statement of policy).
§ 138k.4. General conditions.
(a) Grant agreement. The recipient of a Program grant shall sign a grant agreement setting forth the amount of the grant and other terms and conditions the Department may reasonably require.
(b) Default. A recipient of a Program grant who fails to abide by the terms of the grant agreement or the act or this chapter shall be in default. In the event of a default, the Secretary may cancel the grant and seek recovery of the grant funds as set forth in § 138k.12 (relating to right of recovery). The Secretary may waive a default, after consultation with the Advisory Board, as a result of extenuating circumstances.
(c) Verification. Within 3 months of the project completion date specified in the grant agreement, the recipient shall submit to the Department a final report. The final report shall include:
(1) Written receipts, records and any other financial records or documents evidencing the project's costs.
(2) Pertinent documentation (such as course syllabi, schedules, attendance records and speaker profiles) evidencing the course's content.
(3) A narrative report stating the project objectives and setting forth what objectives were accomplished, the experience gained and knowledge acquired and the methods used to accomplish the stated objectives.
(d) Failure to verify. If a fully completed final report containing the required receipts, records, documentation and narrative is not submitted within the 3-month period or a portion of the grant proceeds are not accounted for, the Secretary may demand the recipient repay the entire amount of the grant or a lesser amount, plus legal interest thereon. The demand will be made in writing and delineate the deficiencies in the verification documents. The recipient shall have 30 days, from the receipt of written notice, to remedy the stated deficiencies or payment shall be due within 60 days of the written demand.
§ 138k.5. Applications generally.
(a) Eligible applicants. Only eligible applicants may submit a grant application to the Department. Eligible applicants may submit grant applications to the Department at the address in subsection (c).
(b) Grant application requirements. An application for a Program grant will not be considered by the Secretary unless the following items are attached:
(1) A detailed description of the project, including objectives, goals and materials to be funded by the grant.
(2) A reasonable and accurate statement of the estimated cost of the project. The statement shall include a separate breakdown of the personnel portion of the costs, the materials portion of the cost, and any other necessary or anticipated costs associated with the project. The applicant shall provide any documentation or financial statements available to support the estimated project costs.
(3) A statement regarding the amount of tuition to be charged for the courses.
(4) A copy of the official organization board minutes when action was taken on the project or a signed statement attesting to the applicant's commitment to the project.
(5) Information regarding the breadth of the project, including the individuals or groups to be served by the project and the geographic area to be served by the project. Maps or other geographic aids may be attached.
(6) Information regarding the skills, knowledge or experience to be gained from the project.
(7) Documentation regarding the name and location of the applicant administering the project.
(8) A biographical sketch of primary persons involved in the project which indicates skills, knowledge, training and prior experience of the persons developing or administering, or both, the project.
(c) Obtaining an application and assistance. An application for a grant under this chapter shall be made on a form prepared by the Department. For applications and for assistance, contact the Farm Safety and Occupational Health Grant Program, Department of Agriculture, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17110.
(d) Additional information. The Secretary may require that an applicant submit additional documentation as may reasonably be necessary to complete, verify or clarify the application.
(e) Application deadline. An application for a grant under this chapter shall be submitted to the Department by October 31 of each year.
§ 138k.6. Processing of applications.
(a) Approval or denial. The Secretary will approve, approve with special conditions or reject grant applications and issue grants in accordance with the general considerations and criteria of the act and this chapter. The Secretary may exercise judgment in approving grant applications and in determining the distribution of grants so that the widest possible audience becomes acquainted with farm safety and occupational health practices and techniques espoused by the act and this chapter. The Secretary may impose restrictions or special conditions upon the issuance of a grant.
(b) Processing. An application for a Program grant shall be processed in the following manner:
(1) Completeness and accuracy. Upon receipt of an application for a Program grant and the required supporting documentation, the Secretary will review this information for completeness and accuracy.
(2) Complete and accurate applications. Applications containing the required information and supporting documentation will be reviewed in accordance with the criteria in the act and this chapter and accepted, accepted with special conditions or rejected. Grant applicants will be notified in writing as set forth in § 138.k8(a) (relating to notice of disposition of application).
(3) Incomplete or inaccurate applications. If the Secretary determines an application is incomplete or inaccurate, final processing of the application may be discontinued or additional data may be requested. If additional data is requested, the request shall be in writing as set forth in § 138k.8(b) and will be sent to the address listed on the grant application. The processing of the application will cease until the applicant supplies the requested data. The Secretary will terminate the processing of an incomplete application when the additional data requested is not supplied within 10 days of the request for the data.
(c) Advisory Board. The Advisory Board, as required under sections 3(g)(2) and 4(c) of the act (3 P. S. §§ 1903(g)(2) and 1904(c)), shall recommend overall priorities for each grant program to the Secretary. Additionally, the Advisory Board, as required by section 3(g)(3) of the act, shall recommend the amount of funds to be allocated to each grant program. The Advisory Board has no authority to and will not review individual grant applications and shall have no input into individual grant awards.
§ 138k.7. Review of applications.
(a) Evaluation. The Secretary will evaluate an application based on the applicant's eligibility and grant application requirements, as well as the factors set forth in the act and this chapter.
(b) Grant application completeness. An application for a Program grant will not be considered by the Secretary unless it contains the required information and items in § 138k.5(b) (relating to applications generally).
(c) Factors. Factors to be considered by the Secretary in selecting grant recipients include the following:
(1) The relevance of the project to farm safety or rural health issues.
(2) The innovativeness of the project.
(3) The scope and duration of the project, the number of people who will be affected by the project as described in the application and how it relates to program components in section 4(b) of the act (3 P. S. § 1904(b)).
(4) The value to the agricultural community of the project described in the application.
(5) The willingness of the applicant to make in-kind or financial, or both, contributions to the project.
(6) The availability of funding for the project from a source other than the Program.
(7) The impact the project will have upon rural youth or farmers, growers or producers within this Commonwealth.
(8) The value to those who work directly with farm accident victims.
(9) Whether the applicant has been, in whole or in part, the recipient of a program grant within the same fiscal year.
(10) Whether a local, county or regional farm organization is affiliated with a Statewide farm organization.
(11) The amount of tuition the applicant intends to charge for the courses administered under the project.
(12) The priorities the Secretary, in consultation with the Advisory Board, sets in accordance with section 4(c) of the act.
§ 138k.8. Notice of disposition of application.
(a) Applications deemed complete. The Secretary will notify grant applicants within 30 days of receipt of their completed grant application of a decision to approve, approve with special conditions or reject the grant application. This notice will be sent by regular mail to the address indicated by the applicant on the grant application.
(b) Applications deemed incomplete or inaccurate. Within 30 days of receipt of a grant application, the Secretary will notify the applicant of a decision to reject the grant application or notify the applicant of a deficiency in the grant application and request additional data. If additional data is requested, notification shall be in writing and detail the additional data needed. The Secretary will follow the action prescribed in § 138k.6(b)(3) (relating to processing of applications).
(c) Approved applications. Applicants approved for a Program grant will receive a grant agreement which shall be executed by the recipient and the Department prior to the release of funds. Grant money shall be spent by the grant recipient within the time period specified in the grant agreement unless an extension is granted in writing by the Secretary. A request for an extension shall be in writing, state the reason the extension is needed and shall be sent to the address in § 138k.5(c) (relating to applications generally). Failure to spend the grant funds within the specified time period shall constitute a default on the part of the grant recipient. The Secretary may cancel the grant and seek recovery of the grant funds as set forth in §§ 138k.11 and 138k.12 (relating to grant cancellation; and right of recovery).
§ 138k.9. Conflict of interest.
A member of the Advisory Board may apply for a grant provided all decisions regarding the grant application are subject to 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(j) (relating to restricted activities) and the action does not violate the State Adverse Interest Act (71 P. S. §§ 776.1--776.9), or 4 Pa. Code, Chapter 7, Subchapter K (relating to code of conduct for appointed officials and state employes).
§ 138k.10. Recordkeeping.
A Program grant recipient shall maintain all books, records, receipts, supporting documents, financial statements, final reports and other documents pertaining to the project, the project costs and the Program grant. These records shall be retained for 3 years beginning at the end of the grant year. The books, records, receipts, supporting documents, financial statements, final reports and other documents shall be maintained according to generally accepted accounting principles. The records shall be made available to the Department or its agent upon request.
§ 138k.11. Grant cancellation.
A Program grant may be canceled by the Secretary upon a determination that the grant recipient has violated of the act, this chapter or the grant agreement, the grant funds or any portion thereof were not utilized or spent in the manner delineated in the grantee's approved grant application or were not used to implement the project set forth in the grantee's approved grant application. In addition, a Program grant may be canceled upon failure of the recipient to satisfy the verification requirements of this chapter. Upon cancellation, the Secretary may seek recovery or the grant funds or any portion thereof as set forth in § 138j.12 (relating to right of recovery).
§ 138k.12. Right of recovery.
The Department has the right to make a claim for and receive from the grant recipient grant funds not expended in accordance with the act, the grant agreement or this chapter, and may demand the return of the grant sum, or a portion thereof, plus legal interest thereon.
§ 138k.13. Deficits.
The Department's financial obligation is limited to the amount of the grant. The Department is not responsible for funding any cost overruns incurred by the grant recipient.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 01-677. Filed for public inspection April 20, 2001, 9:00 a.m.]
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