OSHA Launches Program to Protect Poultry Industry Employees
On October 26th, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a Regional Emphasis Program that is designed to protect poultry industry employees from work-related injuries, particularly the musculoskeletal disorders common among industry laborers, and mitigate the ergonomic stressors that cause injury. According to OSHA, poultry industry workers are two times as likely to be injured and six times as likely to get sick on the job as workers in other private-sector roles. The program will target eight Southern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. The first three months of the program will focus on education and outreach to workers, employers and industry associations to raise awareness of health-related issues in the industry. The program will then enter a targeted enforcement stage including on-site inspections of poultry processing operations with emphasis on working conditions, chemical handling and recordkeeping. OSHA’s initiative will run until October 26, 2016, but may be extended. As the issue of workplace safety across the poultry processing industry continues to attract more attention, there will likely be even more developments in the coming months.