New Rules Will Not Improve Workplace Safety

US - The poultry industry says proposed rules from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), revising injury-reporting requirements, will do little to improve workplace safety.
calendar icon 22 September 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

A proposed requirement to increase the types of work related incidents that must be reported to OSHA within eight hours may not help identify 'significant workplace hazard[s] or failure[s] within a safety and health programme and .... place[s] another reporting burden on the employer while doing little, if anything to improve workplace safety', poultry industry groups said in filing comments opposing the OSHA'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 per cent 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 programme," the poultry group remarked.

"The current requirement of reporting the hospitalisation 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."

The full comments can be viewed on US Poultry & Egg Association's web site [click here].

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