Midwest Hazard Mfg Emphasis Program

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 @ 02:02 PM gHale

You hear it all the time at any manufacturing facility, “safety is job one.”

But the problem is there are some jobs and industries that are more hazardous than others.

So with that in mind, and with the increased likelihood workers in high-hazard manufacturing industries — such as food, furniture, fabricated metal, nonmetallic mineral, machinery and computer products – could suffer an injury on the job, federal safety officials in three Midwestern states are focusing on outreach and inspections to reduce injury and illness rates.

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More than 340 workers died in fatal manufacturing incidents nationwide in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On Jan. 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a Regional Emphasis Program in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.

Regional and local emphasis programs are enforcement strategies designed to address high-risk industries. OSHA’s regional and/or area offices implement the programs. Each program begins with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach activities to share safety and health information with employers, associations and workers.

OSHA encourages employers to use this period to bring their facilities into compliance with federal safety and health standards, if they are not already.

“Workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths are preventable when employers train workers and provide a safe and healthy work environment. This region-wide emphasis program provides 90 days of outreach and education to assist employers in high-hazard industries to eliminate hazards that can cause worker injuries and illnesses,” said Marcia Drumm, regional administrator for OSHA. “The program will also re-direct OSHA’s resources and increase the probability of inspections at establishments in high-hazard industries with more than 10 employees and those that have not had a comprehensive inspection since 2011.”

The emphasis program focuses on manufacturing industries where injury and illness rates exceed the average for the private sector. Included are manufacturers of the following products: Food, furniture, fabricated metal, nonmetallic mineral, machinery, and computer products as well as printing and related support activities.

This three-state emphasis program ends Sept. 30, unless extended. OSHA area offices will continue to open inspections in response to complaints, hospitalizations and fatalities.