Top OSHA Violations & How to Keep Your Packing House Safe

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exists to develop and enforce safety and health standards. It also provides education, training, and assistance to follow these standards.

OSHA standards apply to meatpacking houses. Workers are exposed to high levels of risk for injury or illness.

Failure to follow OSHA standards can result in violations. Even worse, it can lead to worker injury, illness, or death.

As a meatpacking house owner or supervisor, you must follow OSHA standards to keep workers safe. The following tips can help.

Discover some main OSHA violations for packing houses and methods to maintain safety for your workers.

Lack of Personal Protective Equipment

Workers must be provided with and trained to use personal protective equipment (PPE). Examples include waterproof gloves, face masks, goggles, safety glasses, safety shoes, earplugs, hard hats, respirators, coveralls, vests, and full-body suits.

The use of PPE minimizes injuries and illnesses that can result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, or mechanical hazards. Workers also must be trained on hand hygiene practices, biological hazards, and the recognition of symptoms of illness.

Improper Storage of Hazardous Chemicals

Hazardous chemicals can cause skin rashes, skin or eye burns, coughing, shortness of breath, and eye, nose, or throat irritation. Chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine, carbon dioxide, hydrogen peroxide, and peracetic acid must be stored according to OSHA guidelines.

Lack of Hazardous Energy Control

Electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, or thermal energy in equipment and machines can be hazardous. The unexpected startup or release of stored energy during machine or equipment servicing and maintenance can cause injury. You must train workers on proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures to protect against hazardous energy releases.

Overexposure to Noise

Ongoing exposure to high noise levels can cause workers to hear ringing or humming when they leave work. Over time, this can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss.

You can measure noise levels with sound level meters, noise dosimeters, or octave band analyzers. OSHA requires implementing a hearing conservation program when the noise exposure is at or above 85 decibels averaged over 8 working hours or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA).

Workers’ exposure to noise can be reduced by installing quieter machines, isolating the noise source, limiting exposure to the noise, or using effective PPE.

Lack of Fall Protection

Slips and falls are one of the top reasons for worker injuries. Animal fat and blood, leaking pipes, and poor drainage are some main contributors to slippery floors.

Ensure all workstations have non-skid flooring or rubberized cushion floor mats for workers to stand on. This is especially important in areas that require the use of hand knives and power tools.

Maintain guardrails and railings securely attached to walls to protect against falls. This includes open surface dip tanks and elevated work platforms.

Hire Safety-Minded Workers

Partner with the Morris Bixby today to add safety-minded packinghouse workers to your team. Reach out to our staff at your earliest convenience.


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