US poultry groups fight proposed safety rules

26-09-2011 | | |
US poultry groups fight proposed safety rules

A proposed requirement to increase the types of work related incidents that must be reported to OSHA within eight hours is facing criticism from an alliance of US poultry groups.

“This may not help identify significant workplace hazards or failures within a safety and health program and places another reporting burden on the employer while doing little, if anything to improve workplace safety,” poultry industry groups said in filing comments opposing the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s proposed rules. The comments were prepared by the Joint Poultry Industry Safety & Health Council, comprising the US Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation. Collectively, the three organisations represent companies that produce 95% of the nation’s poultry products and employ more than 300,000 workers.

The proposed rule expands the reporting requirement for hospitalisations to require reporting of a single employee hospitalisation within eight hours for work-related incidents. ”It is not unusual for an employee to be admitted for observation or testing and be released the next day without any treatment. Such minor injuries are not indicative of a significant workplace hazard or failure within a safety and health program,” the poultry group remarked. 

“The current requirement of reporting the hospitalization of three or more employees is generally an indicator that a potentially serious safety incident may have occurred, and prompt reporting of such events is a more reasonable approach and remains justified,” commented the Joint Council.

OSHA states the additional reporting of hospitalisation will allow for the collection of more information on the cause of these injuries and illnesses. The poultry group said, “The DART (Days Away, Restrictions and Transfers) rate, calculated from existing injury and illness data, already identifies those workplaces with frequent, severe injuries. We fail to see why this currently available data is not sufficient to meet the goal of identifying ‘the most dangerous workplaces’ and why OSHA needs this type of additional injury data.”

Source: Feed and Grain