Search form

OSHA, Focusing on Meat Processing Industry, Launches Emphasis Programs for Three Midwestern States

By Tressi L. Cordaro
  • April 5, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched emphasis programs in three Midwestern states in an effort to reduce injuries and illnesses that government data show have affected 7.5 percent of employees in the meat processing industry there.

A regional emphasis program (REP) consisting of outreach and education followed by enforcement is underway in Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri.

The REP will focus on musculoskeletal injuries and ergonomic stressors among poultry workers; however, any inspection conducted under the REP will be a comprehensive inspection. Musculoskeletal disorders, which OSHA believes are preventable, arise from stressful, repetitive actions and motions that can cause cumulative trauma injury to joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other areas of the body. In a March 17 news release, OSHA said poultry workers are twice as likely to suffer serious injuries and six times more likely to get sick on the job as other private sector workers.

In a separate news release, OSHA indicated the agency has launched a local emphasis program in Nebraska that will concentrate on common hazards in meat processing. As with the regional program, musculoskeletal and repetitive motion concerns will receive increased attention, along with machine guarding, control of hazardous energy, and process safety management, OSHA said.

Regarding the three-state program, Marcia Drumm, OSHA’s Regional 7 administrator, said, “The program will also re-direct OSHA’s resources and increase the probability of inspections at establishments in the poultry processing industry.” Addressing the Nebraska-specific local program, Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha, remarked, “Workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths are always preventable when employers implement a safety and health program focused on hazard identification, corrective actions and employee training.”

As with all OSHA emphasis programs, the two initiatives have begun with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach activities, during which OSHA shares safety and health information with employers, associations, and workers. OSHA will encourage employers to bring any potentially non-compliant facilities into line with federal safety and health standards. Enforcement will take place after that.

The agency said the regional program will end on September 30, 2016, while the local program will terminate on September 16. OSHA has the option of extending either effort. The two initiatives join another regional emphasis program, announced in February, focusing on high hazard manufacturing facilities in the same three states: Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. Our attorneys can assist any employer to prepare for OSHA’s coming enforcement push under any of the agency’s emphasis programs.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

January 29, 2018

Fitness Industry Workplace Law Update – Winter 2018

January 29, 2018

Welcome to our premiere issue! Our goal is to keep fitness industry clients and contacts informed about employment and labor law issues that may affect your organizations. We hope you find this newsletter valuable and invite you to share it with interested colleagues and contacts. In this issue, we provide a brief summary of hot... Read More

January 24, 2018

2018: The Year Ahead for Employers

January 24, 2018

An executive summary of recent changes in workplace law and a look ahead to 2018. Read More

November 16, 2017

Transportation Department Expands Drug Testing Panel to Include Certain ‘Semi-Synthetic’ Opioids

November 16, 2017

Employers regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) should revise their drug and alcohol testing policies to conform to new DOT regulations that added four “semi-synthetic” opioid drugs to the DOT drug testing panel. The new regulations go into effect on January 1, 2018. DOT announced in a rule published in the Federal... Read More

Related Practices