US - The US' National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and USPOULTRY have said that an expansion of inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would exceed the legal limits of their powers.
The organisations said that whilst they comply willingly with any usual inspections, OSHA has recently said it will conduct wall-to-wall inspections of poultry processing facilities whenever they receive notice of any accident or employee complaint.
The poultry industry expressed its concern that OSHA’s plan overstepped the legal boundaries of the Fourth Amendment’s bar on unreasonable searches and seizures, and sent a letter to OSHA asking them to abide by established rules on inspections.
The organisations emphasised the progress made on safety in the poultry industry, saying worker injury and illness rates have declined 81 per cent in the last in the last 20 years and continue to decline, according to the 2014 Injury and Illness Report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
They also said they already co-operate with OSHA on a number of different types of inspections, including:
- Normally scheduled comprehensive inspections, which can be conducted at any time. Facilities to be inspected must be selected on a random, administratively neutral basis;
- Specialised inspections targeted on particular hazards or industries pursuant to special emphasis programs, such as the Regional Emphasis Programs for Poultry Processing in Regions 4, 6 and 7. Facilities must be selected on a random, administratively neutral basis from a list prepared in advance; and
- Investigations of a specific accident, injuries, complaints or fatalities. However, the courts have ruled that investigating a specific accident does not give OSHA probable cause to expand the inspection beyond the scope of the initial reason for the investigation, unless they identify other hazardous conditions in the course of the investigation: even then, the inspection may be expanded to include only those areas or conditions as to which OSHA can show probable cause.