The U.S. government and the poultry industry joined forces today in a voluntary effort to improve safety in the workplace through worker training, communication outreach and information sharing.
Under terms of an agreement signed today, companies in the chicken and turkey industries will work together with the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to implement a new alliance on worker safety, especially concerning machinery hazards.
“The poultry industry already has an excellent record in worker safety, and we are pleased to work with OSHA through the Alliance Program further to improve our performance,” said George Watts, President of the National Chicken Council.
“Through this Alliance with the government, the industry will increase its focus on training and use of protective equipment on processing machinery to reduce potential injuries,” said NTF Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Michael Rybolt.
According to data recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, injuries occurred in the poultry processing industry at a rate of 5.3 per 100 full-time workers during 2006, a rate that is slightly less than the rate of 5.5 found in manufacturing as a whole.
On behalf of their organizations, Watts and Rybolt signed an agreement with Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., OSHA assistant secretary, and Joyce Carroll, Nebraska Turkey Growers Cooperative, who will chair the industries’ Joint Safety and Health Committee next year.
“We look forward to working with OSHA in this creative and positive new Alliance to take the industry’s already strong performance in this area and make it even better,” added Carroll.
Officials said under the agreement the industries will develop training and education programs on equipment safety in English and other languages, develop and communicate information on the recognition and prevention of workplace hazard, and convene a dialogue on equipment safety issues to help forge innovative solutions in the workplace. This agreement will remain in effect for two years.
The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce, process and market chickens. Member companies of NCC account for approximately 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.
The National Turkey Federation is the advocate for all segments of the U.S. turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for its member’s products. The federation also protects and enhances its member’s ability to effectively and profitably provide wholesome, high quality, nutritious turkey products.