Food Federal agencies Musculoskeletal disorders

USDA issues guidance to inspectors on spotting, reporting workplace hazards

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Washington – A new notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service outlines procedures for agency inspection personnel on notifying OSHA when they observe workplace hazards.

Published Aug. 11, the notice details how to inform OSHA about working conditions such as blocked exits, electrical hazards or lack of machine guards. The notice also implements required safety and health training for FSIS personnel on recognizing and reporting safety hazards.

Additionally, FSIS inspectors will share with management of inspected facilities NIOSH recommendations for improving work conditions and minimizing factors that lead to increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

The instructions laid out in the guidance stem from a new final rule in which USDA pledged to work with OSHA on increasing FSIS personnel’s awareness of safety hazards. FSIS released an advance copy of the Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection final rule on July 31.

Although USDA recently announced that, in response to worker safety concerns, it was backing away from previously proposed increases to poultry-processing line speeds, some safety advocates were disappointed at the rule’s lack of worker safety regulation.