March 17, 2016
OSHA emphasizes need to reduce illness, injury
among Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri poultry processors
Education, enforcement action to protect workers from industry's dangers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Poultry workers are twice as likely to suffer serious injuries and six times more likely to get sick on the job than other private sector workers, facts that are leading federal safety and health inspectors in three Midwestern states to act to reduce musculoskeletal disorders and ergonomic stressors among at-risk workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a new Regional Emphasis Program* in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri targeting the poultry processing industry where Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates that 7.5 percent of workers in the field experience recordable injuries or illness.
"This region-wide emphasis program provides outreach and education to assist poultry processing industry employers to eliminate injuries, illnesses and hazards that can harm workers. Many of these workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths are preventable when employers train workers and maintain a safe and healthy work environment," said Marcia Drumm, regional administrator for OSHA. "The program will also re-direct OSHA's resources and increase the probability of inspections at establishments in the poultry processing industry."
Regional and local emphasis programs are enforcement strategies designed to address high-risk industries. OSHA's regional and/or area offices implement the programs. Each begins with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach activities to share safety and health information with employers, associations and workers. OSHA encourages employers to use this time as an opportunity to bring their facilities into compliance with federal safety and health standards, if they are not already.
OSHA prioritizes general industry inspections using the most recent BLS "Days Away, Restricted or Transferred*" rates and its "Days Away From Work Injury and Illness" rates. Hazards related to lifting and other ergonomic stressors will also be evaluated.
This three-state emphasis program ends Sept. 30, 2016, unless extended. OSHA area offices will continue to open inspections in response to complaints, hospitalizations and fatalities.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742). Additional information related to the emphasis program is available by contacting OSHA's Kansas City Regional Office at 816-283-8745.
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.
Release Number: 16-584-KAN
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