OSHA officials and 45 health and safety experts representing the poultry industry met this month at the Georgia Institute of Technology to discuss OSHA’s Region 4 and 6 Emphasis Program focused on the poultry industry.

“The meeting provided a rare opportunity for the poultry industry and regional leadership from OSHA to discuss the upcoming emphasis program on poultry processing,” says Paul Pressley, USPOULTRY executive vice president - industry programs. “OSHA took the opportunity to discuss some of the trends they see during their inspection process, and the poultry industry was able to share many of the advancements that have been made in workplace safety throughout the industry, leading to the significant reduction in workplace injuries.”

OSHA administrators representing presented a summary of the Regional Emphasis Program, discussing the elements of the program, the process of scheduling and inspection procedures, according to USPOULTRY.

While acknowledging that the industry continues to seek new ways to improve workplace safety, Pressley led a discussion on advancements in worker safety and health which have resulted in a significant reduction in workplace injuries and illnesses in poultry processing facilities. As evidence of this improvement, twenty years ago the industry’s OSHA recordable injury and illness rate was almost double the rate for the entire manufacturing sector and now it is essentially the same as all manufacturing.

Doug Britton, manager of the Georgia Tech Research Institute Agriculture Technology Research Program, provided an update on the program adding they have had great success developing technologies to measure and monitor physical stresses for improved ergonomics as well as developing equipment to replace many manual tasks in poultry plants. Britton described the next generation of automated de-boning, referenced as intelligent cutting. Cameras and computers will model each carcass and control the automated cutting to maximize quality and yield.