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Meat Packing Industry

OSHA's commitment is to provide information to help employers and employees in the meat packing industry comply with OSHA standards and increase safety in the workplace.

There are currently no specific standards for the meatpacking industry.

OSHA Standards

This section highlights OSHA standards, directives (instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to the meat packing industry.

Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)


Standard Interpretations

Hazard Recognition

The meat slaughtering, processing, and packaging industry has long been associated with a high rate of accidents, injuries, and illnesses. The following references aid in recognizing workplace hazards within the meat packing industry.

  • Small Business Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209-02R, (2005). Also available as a 587 KB PDF, 56 pages.

  • Job Hazard Analysis. OSHA Publication 3071, (Revised 2002). Also available as a 499 KB PDF, 51 pages. Explains what a job hazard analysis is and offers guidelines to help employers conduct their own step-by-step analysis.

  • Worker Safety in the Meat and Poultry Industry [129 KB PDF, 4 pages]. American Meat Institute (AMI) Fact Sheet, (2009, February). Describes AMI's purpose, background, voluntary guidelines, and gives injury and illness rates.

Possible Solutions

The unique safety and health hazards found in the meat packing industry can be minimized or eliminated with the proper use of control methods. A preferred way of control is through engineering controls such as guardrails, non-skid floors, correct and safe electrical wiring, equipment and machine guarding, and ventilation. The following references provide possible solutions for meat packing hazards.

  • Safety and Health Guide for the Meatpacking Industry. OSHA Publication 3108, (1988). Also available as a 1 MB PDF, 16 pages. Increases employer and employee awareness of hazards within the meat packing industry and highlights the ways in which employers and employees can work together to eliminate workplace hazards.

  • Ergonomics Program Management Guidelines for Meatpacking Plants. OSHA Publication 3123, (1993). Contains advisory information on management commitment and employee involvement including preventive program elements and detailed guidance and examples of program elements.

  • Participatory Ergonomic Interventions in Meatpacking Plants. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-124, (1994). Contains a report on three case studies where ergonomic intervention techniques were employed.

  • Machine Guarding. OSHA eTool. Focuses on recognizing and controlling common amputation hazards associated with the operation and use of certain types of machines.

Safety and Health Programs

An effective safety and health program depends on the credibility of management's involvement in the program, inclusion of employees in safety and health decisions, rigorous worksite analysis to identify hazards and potential hazards, including those which could result from a change in worksite conditions or practices, stringent prevention and control measures, and thorough training. It addresses hazards whether or not they are regulated by government standards. The following resources provide information that can help employers develop and implement a safety and health program.

Additional Information

Related Safety and Health Topics Pages


Other Resources

Hispanic Resources

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