The poultry industry pledged Monday to cooperate fully with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the development of voluntary ergonomic guidelines for poultry industry workplaces.
“We are pleased to work with OSHA in developing these guidelines,” said Mike Klun, chairman of the poultry industry’s Joint Safety and Health Committee, formed by the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation. “The poultry industry has extensive experience in ergonomics, and many companies already have guidelines in place. We can contribute the lessons we have learned in how to avoid ergonomic problems and how to deal with them when they occur.”
The poultry industry has focused on ergonomic problems since the 1980s and has emphasized workstation redesign, personnel training, and early intervention and treatment as ways to minimize musculoskeletal problems in the workplace. “The improvement came about through industry’s recognition of the problem and commitment to concentrate on research and development of workable solutions,” Klun said.
“A voluntary guideline offers employers and employees the flexibility to address ergonomic issues in the workplace in a cooperative, non-adversarial, and nonjudgmental way,” he said.
According to data from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the incidence rate for ergonomic problems in the poultry industry fell by 40 percent from 1995 to 2000.
“This demonstrates that ergonomic programs are in place in the poultry industry and are helping protect the industry’s workers,” Klun said.
The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce, process and market chickens. Member companies of NCC account for almost 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, which increase demand for its members’ products and protect and enhance the ability to effectively and profitably provide wholesome, high quality, nutritious turkey products.