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OSHA emphasis program targets machine hazards in Wisconsin food manufacturing facilities

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Chicago — A new Local Emphasis Program from OSHA is aimed at protecting workers in Wisconsin food manufacturing establishments from machine and amputation hazards.

“Food production workers in Wisconsin experience a nearly 24% higher injury rate than workers in other production facilities in the state,” an agency press release says. “From 2014 to 2020, OSHA investigated multiple fatalities, dozens of amputations, fractures, and workers with crushed hands or fingers. Investigators determined that the employers failed to control hazardous energy or allowed workers to operate machinery without adequate guarding.”

The goal of the LEP is to ensure employers identify, reduce and eliminate exposures to machine hazards during production, as well as during off-shift sanitation, service and maintenance activities. Wisconsin has 900 food manufacturers that employ about 19,000 workers.

On April 19, OSHA initiated a three-month outreach period involving employers, professional associations, local safety councils, apprenticeship programs, hospitals and occupational health clinics. The agency says it plans to make presentations to industry organizations and other stakeholders. Employers are encouraged to use OSHA’s free consultation services.

 

After the outreach period, the agency will begin inspecting select facilities.

“The food production industry continues to be staffed in part by seasonal and temporary laborers who may not be fully aware of their rights or they may be afraid to communicate safety concerns,” William Donovan, administrator of OSHA’s Region 5, said in the release. “Employers must protect their workers whether they are employed for a day, a season or year-round. They can do so by planning their training and orientation programs to emphasize proper safety precautions and ensure the procedures are explained in a language workers can understand.”

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