In April of this year, OSHA - Region V - WI published a Local Emphasis Program (LEP) established for the purpose of scheduling and conducting inspections within the Food Manufacturing Industry (click here for full details.)
The launch of the LEP allows for greater “outreach, education, training, and enforcement activities.” For many reading this, this specific LEP may not pertain to your facility. However, the rationale behind this special program is something that we can appreciate across the food industry. Reminders like this in our busy, hectic schedules can do a lot “to encourage employers to take steps to identify, reduce, and eliminate hazards associated with exposure to machine hazards during production activities, and off-shift sanitation, service, and maintenance tasks.”
Let’s face it, a food processing environment is a tough environment! Between assuring the quality and safety of products, keeping the pumps pumping, the conveyors conveying, and every other facet of running a food plant, another topic centrally unites everything we do—employee safety! This perpetual concern is one that doesn’t take any time off, doesn’t care if we’re having good or bad days, or if turnover has been tough. It’s there, it’s absolutely central, and it’s about actively protecting our people.
When it comes to manufacturing, the US Department of Labor/OSHA cites: “…that food manufacturing injury rates were consistently elevated when compared to the averages for all private Wisconsin companies engaged in manufacturing, with NAICS codes between 311xxx-339xxx.”
Though Wisconsin focused, familiarizing yourself with this LEP is a great opportunity to pause and think about safety in your own facility. What have you seen? Where can you apply more proactive solutions? Do your records reveal gaps that can be filled?
As you negotiate this persistent and central demand, know that we’re here to help. We understand the challenges food manufacturers face, and have a selection of products and services to specifically address those needs. Worker safety is an area that we know well—From Lockout/Tagout products to dust mitigation, and PPE we’re here to be your partner in ensuring worker safety and well-being.