OSHA Issues Regional Emphasis Program for Poultry IndustryThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a regional notice on January 25, 2016 aimed at increasing worker health and safety in the poultry industry in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. The notice came from the OSHA Kansas City Regional Enforcement Office, and established a Region-wide Local Emphasis Program that should help to reduce the 7.5% injury/illness rate that workers in the poultry industry in that area currently are experiencing.

“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.”

OSHA had previously issued a regional notice for the poultry industry in the area, coming from the Atlanta Regional Office. The Regional Emphasis Plan that the notice created laid out specific plans for training, scheduling and outreach, all of which should show up again in the newly issued Regional Emphasis Plan for poultry processing in Region VII.

This regional program will entail beginning a three month education and instructional activity period that will raise awareness of general health and safety best practices as well as industry-specific advice for increasing worker safety. That activity period will end on the last day of September 2016, but the protocols that workers learn and the safety management structures that upper level employers create as a result should not go to waste. As Marcia Drumm said, OSHA will likely increase the number and depth of inspections in the poultry processing industry in the region, which is external motivator enough for most companies looking to save themselves time and money. However, safety should still always be its own motivator, so companies in the area will need to pay close attention in order to get the highest possible benefit from this program.