OSHA Assistant Secretary Addresses National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry
Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), addressed more than 100 poultry industry safety and health professionals at the 2013 National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry, held August 19-21, at the Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Amelia Island, Florida. Michaels provided an update on current OSHA initiatives then participated in a Q&A session with attendees via remote broadcast.
In his opening remarks, Michaels commended the attendees on the advancements made in workplace safety throughout the industry. However, he challenged the industry to continue to find better solutions to reduce musculoskeletal disorders and workplace exposure to chemicals.
“Your participation today in a longstanding, industry-specific conference shows your commitment to workplace safety,” said Michaels, who also cited incidence rates for workplace illnesses such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome in the poultry industry as higher than industry averages. While recognizing the progress that has been made, Michaels reminded attendees there is still much to do to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.
Other presentations covered topics ranging from continuous improvement processes and contractor safety to workplace violence and electrical hazard recognition, in addition to several related roundtable discussions. Attendees also received an overview and discussed safety implications of the proposed Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection Rule with Dr. Ashley Peterson, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the National Chicken Council. A highlight of the conference was the annual David Wylie Insight Lecture, delivered by Nickole Winnett, an attorney in the Workplace Safety and Health practice group of Jackson Lewis LLP. Winnett shared her insight into OSHA in 2013 and beyond. Attendees also had the opportunity to interact with several vendors displaying the latest in worker/plant safety equipment and services.
“ATRP is so proud to continue our association with the only national safety conference designed specifically for the poultry industry. This year’s conference was indicative of the industry’s commitment to workplace safety as 62 companies and organizations from 24 states and the District of Columbia sent one or more employees to the three-day learning event,” said Dr. Doug Britton, program manager of the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Agricultural Technology Research Program (ATRP).
The annual conference is co-hosted by ATRP and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association with support from the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, and Georgia Poultry Federation.