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Meatpacking

Meatpacking - Photo Credit: iStock.com-453912905 | Copyright: andresr
Meatpacking Menu

Overview

Highlights

There are many serious safety and health hazards in the meat packing industry. These hazards include exposure to high noise levels, dangerous equipment, slippery floors, musculoskeletal disorders, and hazardous chemicals (including ammonia that is used as a refrigerant). The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports injury and illness rates for the Meat Packing Industry as 2 ½ times higher than the national average. More serious injuries requiring work restrictions or days away from work are more than 3 times higher in meat packing than U.S. Industries as a whole. Musculoskeletal disorders comprise a large part of these serious injuries and continue to be common among meat packing workers. In addition, meat packing workers can be exposed to biological hazards associated with handling live animals or exposures to feces and blood which can increase their risk for many diseases.

Common hazard control measures include:

Employers must also comply with OSHA’s sanitation standard 29 CFR 1910.141, that requires that toilet facilities must be made readily available and that employees are able to use toilet facilities when needed.

OSHA Standards

Meatpacking is addressed in specific OSHA standards for General Industry.

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Hazards and Solutions

Provides references that may aid in recognizing and controlling hazards associated with meatpacking.

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Additional Resources

Provides links and references to additional resources related to meatpacking.

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Highlights

Workers' Rights

Workers have the right to:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA’s rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
  • Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.

For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.

How to Contact OSHA

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.

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