OSHA has begun a Local Emphasis Program in Illinois and Ohio to step up its awareness and enforcement efforts targeting the food production industry.
Injury rates among the more than 90,000 food production workers in those states is “significantly higher than other manufacturing workers,” according to the agency.
More amputations, fractures than other manufacturers
Between 2016 and 2020, OSHA investigated multiple fatalities and injuries involving dozens of workers suffering amputations, fractures and crushed hands or fingers. These were caused by employer failure to control hazardous energy and provide adequate machine guarding.
In 2019, OSHA found that Ohio’s food production workers had a 57% higher rate of fractures compared to the overall rates for other manufacturers in the state. Food production workers in Illinois experienced an almost 29% higher rate of amputations and 14% higher rate of fractures than in other manufacturing industries.
Outreach phase has already begun
The new Local Emphasis Program began with an outreach phase on Oct. 3, 2022, that will focus on educating employers and workers at the more than 1,400 food manufacturing facilities in Illinois and Ohio.
During the outreach phase, OSHA will deliver presentations to industry organizations and encourage employers to use its free consultation services to implement machine safety strategies and ensure compliance with OSHA standards.
The outreach phase will last for three months before going into the enforcement phase, which will empower the agency to schedule inspections at select food industry employers in the two states whose injury rates exceed the state average among all manufacturers.