Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

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SECRETARY OF LABOR,                 )
          Complainant,              )
     v.                             )     OSHRC DOCKET NO. 89-2815
CAGLE'S, INC.,                      )             REGION IV
          Respondent,               )
     STORE UNION,                   )
          Authorized Employee       )
          Representative.           )       STIPULATION
____________________________________)     AND JOINT MOTION

The parties stipulate and agree as follows:

1. Respondent agrees to abate the conditions noted in the citations as follows:

(a) Implement, or evaluate and where feasible implement the abatement measures listed in the citations as part of its ergonomic review of conditions at the facility under subsection (b), below.

(b) Implement the Cagles, Inc., Ergonomic Agreement, which is attached hereto and incorporated in its totality into this Stipulation and Joint Motion.

2. Respondent hereby withdraws the Notice of Contest as to such Citations and Notifications of Penalty. Respondent states that this withdrawal was not induced by a promise of any other party hereto except as may appear herein.

3. Respondent had paid the penalty in the total amount of $16,000.

4. Affected employees herein are represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

5. Each party hereby agrees to bear its own fees (including attorney fees) and other expenses incurred by such party in connection with any stage of this proceeding.

6. Respondent certifies that on May 9, 1990, notice of the foregoing was given to employees by posting a true copy (as executed by respondent) of this Stipulation, in accordance with Commission's Rule 7(g) [29 C.F.R. 2200.7(g)], and by mailing an additional such copy to the above named union.

ACCORDINGLY, the parties jointly move the Commission for an Order appropriate for final disposition of this matter.

This 19th day of June, 1990.

CAGLE'S, INC.                     ROBERT P. DAVIS
                                  Solicitor of Labor

By:  __________________________   BOBBYE D. SPEARS
     HARVEY A. ROSENZWEIG         Regional Solicitor
     Its Attorney
                                  STEPHEN J. SIMKO, JR.
  DEPARTMENT STORE UNION          By:  __________________________
                                       STEPHEN J. SIMKO, JR.
By:  __________________________
     ADRIENNE MARKOWITZ           Attorneys for the Secretary
     Industrial Hygienist         of Labor, United States
     Director of Health and       Department of Labor.

SOL Case No. 89-10310







I. General Recognition Language

Cagle's, Inc. and its successors (hereinafter referred to as "the Company"), and the U. S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (hereinafter referred to as "OSHA") recognize that cumulative trauma disorders (hereinafter "CTDs") are an occupational illness occurring in the poultry packing industry, poultry processing industry, and other industries with similar jobs.

Cumulative trauma disorders (CTD) of the upper extremities are chronic soft tissue problems of the musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve system. Examples of specific diagnoses within this class of disorders include tendinitis, tenosynovitis, synovitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, stenosing tenosynovitis of the fingers (trigger finger), and epicondylitis (tennis elbow or golfer's elbow).

The Company and OSHA also recognize that the control of CTD is a complex issue often requiring the application of a number of different control technologies and methods. These include an ergonomically safe design - which includes engineering controls to reduce or eliminate job-related CTD stressors, e.g., force, position, repetition; employee and supervisory training and education; early recognition of the problem; early and proper medical diagnosis, treatment and care follow-up; and administrative controls-such as job enlargement, rotation and rest pauses.

II. Covered Facilities

This agreement covers the Cagle's companies and locations described in paragraph III L. on page 11 of this Agreement.

III. Elements of the program

The Company will evaluate and where feasible implement the abatement measures included in the citations as part of its ergonomic review of conditions set forth in detail below. A. Abatement measures

Deboning and Primary Processing (Evisceration) Department

(1) Identify of all current employees who experience symptoms generally associated with cumulative trauma disorders.

(2) Perform an ergonomic assessment of each operation to identify mechanical stressors which may be produced by the environment and/or work methods.

(3) Develop an ergonomics training and awareness program for employees, supervisors, engineers and managers.

(4) Develop a pre-placement job program.

(5) Develop a work hardening program.

(6) Develop a light-duty program.

(7) Develop a medical surveillance system for tracking cumulative trauma disorders.

Deboning Department

(1) Control measures for reducing total amount of force exerted by the employee's upper extremities.

(2) Control measures for reducing wrist deviations and forearm rotations.

(3) Control measures for limiting the arm reach.

(4) Control measures for adjusting working heights.

(5) Control measures to lower the frequency of the repetitive motions.

(6) Control measures to rotate employees between high and low stressor jobs.

(7) Control measures to provide more workspace for the employees.

(8) Control measures to provide sub-division of jobs.

(9) Control measures to provide better glove for gripping and/or insulation purposes.

(10) Control measures to provide powered hand tools.

(11) Control measures to provide ergonomically designed hand tools.

(12) Control measures to provide a ready supply of "fresh" hand tools.

B. Identification and control of stressors

An ergonomics review of the processes which pose a hazard of CTD shall be conducted by consultant(s) retained and directed by an administrator appointed by Cagle's. This review shall evaluate processes with regard to existing and new work positions, practices, tools, and equipment to identify stressors. (The term "stressors" may include excessive force and improper posture). The Cagle's administrator, working with the consultant(s) will attempt to determine control strategies which will materially reduce or eliminate any excessive stressors found.

The review shall consist of an evaluation of the results of a symptom survey, OSHA 200 logs, first report of injury forms, medical records and other relevant available documentation including Cagle's written supervisory evaluation forms, and on-site review by the consultant(s).

C. Engineering and administrative controls

Employee input will be considered by the consultant(s) in evaluating, testing, and formulating potential engineering and administrative solutions to significantly reduce the ergonomic stress or excessive repetition in the workplace.

1. Engineering controls: The Company will consider and implement all feasible engineering controls including the following:

(a) Reduction of extreme postures to be achieved through such means as re-orienting the knife or tool handle, provision for proper work heights and reach.

(b) Reduction of excessive force to be achieved by such means as automating aspects of the process, maintaining sharp cutting edges on knives and tools, and providing proper heights allowing cuts and movements to be made in mechanically advantageous postures close to the body.

2. Administrative controls:

When engineering changes prove to be insufficient to significantly reduce the ergonomic stress that has caused or is likely to cause CTD, administrative controls, including the reduction of the amount of repetitive motion work per employee per shift, will be tested and implemented where feasible.

(a) The Company will improve on and continue the job hardening and training line concept.

(b) After review of individual job functions by the consultant(s), the Company will improve on and continue the job rotation program. Caution shall be used in deciding which jobs are used because different jobs may appear to have different stressors, but actually pose the same physical demands as the previous job. Jobs will be analyzed to assure similar physical demands are not made of rotated employees.

(c) If necessary, rest pauses shall be utilized to relieve fatigued muscle/tendon groups.

3. Orientation and training:

With assistance from the consultant(s), the Company will develop a formal training program. This program is outlined below. The program will consist of video training aids, quarterly training sessions as part of the on-going education and specific training for jobs more likely to pose a CTD hazard to the employee. The training components shall be presented as set forth below.

(a) Training components

1. General - A new video training tape will be developed within one hundred twenty days after the execution of this agreement showing the proper techniques for each job. This video will replace the current training film, and will include the medical aspects of CTD, movements and activities which may be utilized to prevent, control or alleviate problems. It will also communicate the importance of early reporting and conservative treatment of symptoms.

All production employees will be shown this component within sixty days after its completion, and annually thereafter. It will also be shown to all new trainees.

2. Specific training - A videotape will be developed within one hundred twenty days after execution of this agreement which will provide more specific information on CTD hazards and the treatment of CTD related problems. This video will provide greater detail on specific jobs, postures and activities which contribute to the development of CTD related problems and the medical management of such problems. Designated employees shall be shown this component beginning sixty days after its completion.

3. Job specific - Specific job instruction will be provided concerning proper methods and techniques in positions with higher stressors. This training will also cover the proper use of equipment, and cover CTD practices. Trainees will be instructed in proper care for equipment, types of knives, tools, and devices associated with individual work duties, and proper knife steeling.

Specific training for the new trainees will include cross training on the different jobs with higher stressors in order to be able to institute a proper job rotation program when entering the production environment. This training will involve demonstrations and time to practice proper work techniques prior to the employee being required to work at full capacity. The trainer will determine when an employee is line ready or washed out and terminated as unfit for line production rate if no other position is currently available. Training on CTDs shall be included at regular intervals as part of regular safety meetings. This training shall be more specific for those jobs which may present a CTD hazard. This training shall be initiated at each facility three months after initiation of the job specific training.

4. Supervisory training - Respondent represents that this training will be directed through a corporate appointed ergonomics administrator. This individual will be responsible for the effective implementation of a company wide ergonomic action plan through the supervision at each plant location. This plan will concentrate on the identification of problem areas and the early detection and treatment of symptoms. This action plan is a well defined check list designed to assist each supervisor in identifying potential problems, and collecting data in order to offer possible solutions. It defines how to put into practice the solutions to problems, assist in the development of time lines for completion of each step, and a method to evaluate results. This plan will be developed and instruction presented to Cagle's supervision by Dr. Travis W. Arterbury. Dr. Arterbury has done extensive work in the area of ergonomics within the poultry industry, and will educate supervision in the basic principles of ergonomics.

5. Medical training - This training will include detailed review of the medical aspects of CTD, and how to perform a complete medical evaluation, treatment protocols, the proper use of diagnostic instruments, how to complete necessary forms and reports and the importance of proper follow up. The training will also include education on the specific jobs with high stressors, the stressors involved, and the availability of appropriate light duty jobs. All designated medical personnel, including nurses, shall be given this component within one year after execution of this agreement and, thereafter, as determined by the consultant.

(a) The Company will within ninety days after execution of this agreement implement a program of early detection, treatment, and follow-up of CTD. The program will include provisions for prompt evaluation of employee symptoms. When directed by physician or by the medical department, employees will be given sufficient time for the involved muscle/tendon to heal. This time will include time off work, or transfer to another job which poses a lesser risk of such injuries. When injured employees require time off work, upon returning to work they shall, when directed by a physician or the medical department, be permitted to recondition the injured muscle/tendon group by gradual resumption of duties. This will be done in addition to any other prescribed treatment.

(b) Within one year after execution of this agreement, light duty jobs will be analyzed for CTD potential. This analysis will include the procedures used in the performance of each job, including lifting requirements, postures, hand grips and frequency of repetitive motion. Such analysis will be reduced to written form and provided to nurses, doctors and supervisory personnel involved in the assignment of light duty jobs.

(c) No employees shall be discriminated against because they reasonably request and visit the medical facilities or because they have diagnosed CTD problems and are undergoing medical rehabilitation.

(d) The medical program will incorporate and develop the following concepts:

1. A baseline survey to be completed within one year after the execution of this agreement designed to measure on a plant-wide basis the extent of symptoms of work-related disorders.

The survey or like evaluation method will be repeated on an annual basis.

2. When an employee in a job not previously evaluated by the consultant(s) reports a CTD, the Company will evaluate that employee's actual performance of the job to determine if ergonomic risk factors exist and take corrective action if necessary.

3. A uniform medical management protocol for CTDs will be developed and implemented. All physicians and nurses will be trained to use this protocol which will include the following:

(a) Standardized physical examination, medical history and recording form. The examination will include inspection, palpation and range of motion testing.

(b) Specified protocols for the treatment of employees with positive physical signs on examination as well as those with symptoms but no physical signs. Splints should not be used during working activities unless it is determined that no deviation or bending of the splinted limb is required on the job.

(c) Reevaluation will be scheduled in no less than three days. If the condition worsens, further medical management should not be undertaken without concurrent efforts to reduce the physical stresses of the job by such measures as job modification, work practice changes, and administrative changes. If the condition is unchanged, a further evaluation will be scheduled in no less than three days.

(d) All recommendations for surgery for CTDs will be referred for a second opinion.

C. Implementation of the program

1. The Company will establish an ergonomics pilot program at the Pine Mountain Valley facility. Evaluation of the processes initially selected for review after assessment by the Company shall be completed within one year of the signing of this agreement. Implementation of all measures designed to control CTD'S in the pilot project will be completed within two years of the signing of this agreement.

2. In addition, a corporate-wide evaluation process as to all production processes not included in the pilot program will be completed within two years of the signing of the agreement. Final implementation of control measures will be completed corporate-wide within three years of the signing of the agreement.

D. Consultants

Ergonomics consultant(s) qualified by education and experience will be retained to assist in the abatement of the citation.

The Company has retained and is presently utilizing several consultants to deal with CTD hazards at Pine Mountain Valley. The Company will maintain the utilization of sufficient consultants to fully implement the terms of this agreement.

E. Baseline determinations

Baseline determinations of present CTD conditions will be helpful to measure progress in this effort. To effectuate such determinations, the following will be implemented:

1. Within three months after execution of this agreement, the Company will provide to OSHA a listing of CTD illnesses for all plant locations from calendar year 1989, together with the job location of each listed incident. The listing will include, where available, the location(s) at which each employee worked prior to diagnosis, the length of time the employee worked at each location, and the type of CTD and treatments provided. The purpose of this report will be to apprise the parties, as best possible from available information, of the facilities and positions within facilities having the prevalence of CTD injury potential.

2. OSHA shall at its discretion conduct along with the Company's ergonomic administrator or other Company official an abbreviated baseline monitoring walk through of the pilot project (Pine Mountain Valley). The purpose of this walk through is to form baseline determination of presently prevailing conditions regarding CTD potentials.

F. Periodic program meetings

1. Within 30 days after execution of this agreement, the Company will provide OSHA with the name of its ergonomic administrator, who will set a meeting with OSHA within 90 days for the purpose of discussing activities under this agreement.

2. These parties will then meet on a semi-annual basis to discuss the Company's progress in dealing with CTD's until the Company has effectively implemented an ergonomics action plan company wide.

G. Entry onto Company Facilities

The Company agrees to allow OSHA access to all of its facilities and appropriate documents to determine progress and compliance with this agreement and to conduct compliance inspections under the Act. OSHA agrees that, assuming implementation of the agreement by the Company, it will not conduct general schedule inspections as to ergonomic issues covered by the agreement, except that OSHA may conduct baseline and monitoring inspections with our ergonomic administrator to determine compliance with this agreement and all other types of inspections permitted under the OSHA Act.

If, during the course of any inspection conducted during the life of this agreement, OSHA detects a situation or condition related to the coverage of this agreement which would ordinarily result in a citation, OSHA will determine whether the condition is being or will be addressed as part of the facility's activities pursuant to this agreement, and if it is reasonably being or will be addressed, no citation will be issued. OSHA retains the right to issue ergonomic related citations to any facility in the event the Company is determined by OSHA not to be implementing this agreement in good faith.

H. Reports

Reports will be submitted quarterly describing the activities under this agreement for the previous three month period, including the numbers of employees receiving training, the number of employees treated for CTD, the extent of such treatment, the utilization of various programs implemented, identification and control of stressors, the status of compliance with the timetable in this agreement, and any other relevant information.

Reports required under this agreement shall be made available to appropriate employee collective-bargaining unit representatives.

The Company will indicate CTD controls implemented and will, if it determines that controls identified in this agreement or recommended by the consultant(s) are not to be implemented at any prescribed locations, provide OSHA with the basis for such determinations.

I. Term of agreement

This agreement will remain in effect for a period of three years from the date of signature.

J. Treatment of confidential material

It is understood that the reports generated by the activities described in this agreement shall be handled pursuant to Section 15 of the Act (29 U.S.C. 664), 18 U.S.C. 1905, and 29 C.F.R. 1903.9. The Company shall have the obligation to identify the document, information, or portion thereof, that contains proprietary or business confidential material.

K. It is understood and agreed by the parties that this Settlement Agreement constitutes a compromise of a disputed claim. Therefore, the parties agree as follows:

This Settlement Agreement or the statements, actions and findings made by Respondent in connection herewith or hereafter in fulfilling its obligations hereunder do not and shall not constitute an admission by Respondent of any violation of the Act.

Without limiting the foregoing, this Settlement Agreement shall not be deemed an admission by Respondent of the allegations contained within the Citation, Notification of Penalty and Complaint that are the subject of this proceeding. This Settlement Agreement shall not be used in any proceeding before any court, agency, commission or any other body, except for further proceedings under the Act.

Nothing contained in this Settlement Agreement is an admission by the Respondent that a specific employee's CTD is work related.

Nothing contained in this Settlement Agreement shall preclude Complainant at the conclusion of the term of this Settlement Agreement from investigating any of the plants or conditions covered in this Settlement Agreement and, if appropriate, to issue citations relating to the conditions covered in this Settlement Agreement.

L. Company locations

          Pilot project:

               Pine Mountain Valley, Georgia

          Plants included in Corporate wide abatement:

               Atlanta, Georgia

               Camilla, Georgia

               Macon, Georgia

               Lovejoy, Georgia

               Collinsville, AL