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VPP Programs Omaha Steaks F Street Plant Receives an A for Safety and Health Excellence


Background:

The Omaha Steaks F Street Plant processes meat products from boxed beef received from USDA inspected meat facilities. The plant, which received Star recognition in April 2008, is one of Omaha Steaks three active Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Star sites.

Success Impact:

Employee Involvement in Improving Ergonomics Results in Less Incidence Rates and Best Practices

In recent years management at the F Street Plant has worked to get employees more involved in safety and health. A key focus area has been ergonomics, where employees contribute many ideas for improvements. OSHA has recognized several of the plants increased employee involvement around ergonomic initiatives as models for best practices. Highlights from these initiatives are presented below:

Ergonomics Program The Omaha Steaks International (F Street Plant) has developed and implemented an outstanding ergonomics program. An ergonomics committee (comprised of management, employees, and safety committee members) meets on a monthly basis to proactively evaluate concerns and implement any necessary solutions. The impact of this program is apparent through a review of ergonomics improvements implemented by the plant, such as:
  • The purchase of state-of-the-art steak-cutting and trimming line adjustable work stations
  • Automated slicers
  • Improved conveyor lines
  • Utilization of third party ergonomists with expertise in the meat processing industry.
Symptom Surveys and Immediate Response Symptom Survey and Immediate Response Forms are available to all employees for early detection and reporting of ergonomic issues. The Omaha Steaks International (F Street Plant) safety specialist has all new-hires complete symptom surveys for the first month of employment. If an employee reports discomfort, their job technique is evaluated by the safety specialist, the occupational health nurse, and the supervisor. The employee is then instructed in proper ergonomic techniques. Early reporting has allowed the facility to reduce and prevent many muscular skeletal disorders.

Safety Concern Notices Employees can submit Safety Concern Notices to report hazardous conditions and provide suggestions for improvement. The safety specialist receives more than ten Safety Concern Notices per month. Notices are reviewed by the Safety Specialist for safety relevance and feasibility. The Safety Specialist personally responds to the employee about his/her suggestion and communicates the suggestion to management and/or maintenance for implementation.

Bilingual Safety Training All safety training and on-the-job training can be performed in English and Spanish by the bilingual Safety Specialist. This assures more comprehensive understanding of the training and understanding of proper job technique.

These efforts have significantly contributed to the reduction of injuries and illnesses at the facility. Since 2003, the plant has reported a 62 percent reduction in their Total Case Incidence Rate (TCIR) and a 70 percent reduction in the number of Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate. This was all accomplished while ramping up production. During this same time period, the plant has increased the total hours worked by 83 percent.

Origin: OSHAs Region VII Kansas City Regional Office

Entered VPP: April 2008

NAICS Code and Description: NAICS 311612 (Meat Processed from Carcasses)

Employees: 181 employees

Employers: 1

Source and Date: Beth Muehlich, Corporate Safety Director, Omaha Steaks; Matt Gaines, Kansas City Regional Office (September 2008)