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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

News Release

OSHA's regional emphasis program focuses on reducing illness and injury at Southwestern chicken processing facilities

Education and enforcement action to protect workers from industry's dangers

DALLAS — 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 to act in four Southwestern states to reduce musculoskeletal disorders and ergonomic stressors affecting industry workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced the launch of a new Regional Emphasis Program in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas intended to prompt employers to protect poultry industry workers properly and reduce injury and illness rates.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma ranked second, sixth and tenth, respectively, among the nation's largest chicken producers, accounting for 11 of the 51 billion pounds of chicken produced in the U.S.

OSHA's emphasis program begins today with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach activities to share safety and health information with employers, associations and workers. Employers are encouraged to use this period to bring their facilities into compliance with OSHA standards, if they are not already.

The agency will then begin its targeted enforcement phase, including on-site inspections and a review of poultry processing production operations, working conditions, recordkeeping, chemical handling and safety and health programs to ensure compliance.

"Our goal is to reduce crippling injuries, such as musculoskeletal disorders, and to ensure the industry records all occupational injuries and illnesses accurately," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "At the end of the day, all we want is to make sure workers get home safe to their families."

The emphasis program ends Oct. 25, 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 Dallas Regional Office at 972-850-4145.

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 http://www.osha.gov.

OSHA News Release: [10/26/2015]
Contact Name: Diana Petterson or Juan J. Rodriguez
Phone Number: (972) 850-4710 or x4703
Email: Petterson.Diana@dol.gov or Rodriguez.Juan@dol.gov
Release Number: 15-2107-DAL