From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

OSHA Continues Ergonomics History With Meatpackers

On October 24, 2002, , the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Meat Institute (AMI) joined in a formal Alliance to further promote safe and healthful working conditions
for meat industry workers, OSHA Administrator John Henshaw announced today.

“OSHA and AMI are committed to reducing ergonomic hazards in the workplace,” Henshaw said. “We worked together in 1990 to develop ergonomic guidelines for meatpacking plants. Now, this alliance provides an even stronger opportunity to reach out to the meat industry and reduce occupational musculoskeletal disorders even more.”

The Alliance sets specific goals and priorities — key among those is providing AMI members and others in the meat industry with information to help protect workers’ health and safety, focusing on reducing and preventing exposure to ergonomic hazards. The Alliance also calls for both organizations to provide training on ergonomics techniques, program structure, and applications in the meat industry.

Training and education goals have been set, including working together to cross-train OSHA personnel and industry safety and health professionals in AMI ergonomic best practices or programs. AMI will also include ergonomics training sessions at the annual American Meat Institute Foundation Worker Safety, Health and Human Resources conference.

As Henshaw mentioned, the meatpacking industry has been looking at ergonomics for over 10 years. Meatpacking workplaces often had musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risk factors like high forces and awkward postures. These were sometimes exacerbated by cold temperatures, poor tools, and large metal mesh gloves used for hand protection. In August of 1990, OSHA published “Ergonomics Program Management Guidelines for Meatpacking Plants”. The performance based program approach to ergonomics outlines in this document paved the way for a national ergonomics standard promulgated in 2000, and then rescinded in 2001.

For more information on the alliance visit the OSHA website at