Thursday, November 19, 2015

OSHA launches education and enforcement action to protect workers from dangers in the poultry industry

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. In response to this, OSHA has launched a new Regional Emphasis Program in eight states to reduce musculoskeletal disorders and ergonomic stressors affecting industry workers.
The targeted Southern states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas – include some of the nation's largest poultry producers.
A report issued last week by the anti-poverty organization Oxfam America alleged that poultry workers often face employer retaliation for reporting injuries and illnesses or voicing concerns about safety.
OSHA's emphasis program began Oct. 26 with a three-month period of education and outreach activities to share safety and health information with employers, associations and workers. The agency will then begin its targeted enforcement phase, including on-site inspections and a review of poultry processing production operations, working conditions, recordkeepingchemical handling and safety and health programs to ensure compliance. The emphasis program ends Oct. 25, 2016, unless extended.
For more information, see news releases from OSHA's regional offices in Atlanta and Dallas.

New fact sheets show how to protect agriculture and maritime workers from hazards

In OSHA's continued efforts to protect workers from industry-specific hazards, the agency has developed two new fact sheets for agriculture and maritime workers. Most farmworker injuries and deaths involve tractors, including overturns, run-overs, sudden start-ups and unintended contact with tractor attachments or implements. A new OSHA fact sheet on tractor hazards* shows employers how to protect their agricultural workers.
A new OSHA fact sheet on Hazards During the Repair and Maintenance of Refrigeration Systems on Vessels* advises maritime industry employers how to protect workers who service these systems, which use hazardous chemicals including ammonia and Freon®.

OSHA seeks comment on updated Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines

As the holiday season approaches, OSHA is encouraging retail employers to implement safety measures to prevent workplace injuries during major sales events, including Black Friday. The agency is reminding employers about the potential hazards involved with managing large crowds at retail stores during the holiday season, when sales events attract a higher number of shoppers. Retailers are encouraged to use the safety guidelines outlined in the fact sheet Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers.

OSHA seeks comment on updated Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines

OSHA is seeking public comment on an updated version of its voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines, first published in 1989. The guidelines are intended to help employers establish safety and health plans at their workplaces. Key principles include finding and fixing hazards before they cause injury or illness, and making sure that workers have a voice in safety and health. The updated guidelines*, which include illustrations, tools and resources, should be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized businesses. The guidelines also address ways in which multiple employers at the same worksite can coordinate efforts to make sure all workers are protected equally. Public comments will be accepted until Feb. 15. For more information, see the news release.