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Thursday, October 24, 2002

New Orleans, LA, October 24, 2002 – The American Meat Institute (AMI) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today established a cooperative alliance dedicated to worker safety enhancements throughout the meat industry. An agreement establishing the Alliance was signed by AMI President J. Patrick Boyle and Assistant Secretary of Labor John L. Henshaw during AMI’s Annual Convention.

Under the Alliance, AMI and OSHA will use their collective expertise to foster a culture of illness and injury prevention in meat plants. Specifically, AMI and OSHA will promote safe and healthful working conditions for meat industry employees through several key steps: First, by providing AMI and industry members with ongoing information and guidance, particularly in preventing and reducing exposure to ergonomic hazards; second, by creating a mentoring program to assist other plants in improving ergonomic programs; and third, by providing training on ergonomic techniques, program structure and applications to meat plant personnel.

AMI and OSHA also will work cooperatively to disseminate information and guidance in Spanish and other languages; will seek opportunities to speak, exhibit or appear at conferences that promote the effectiveness of these ergonomic programs and will promote and encourage AMI members’ participation in OSHA’s cooperative programs, like the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), which is a program for the “safety elite” in the industry who have achieved dramatic improvements in safety records.

To promote a national dialogue on worker safety and health, AMI and OSHA will encourage AMI members to act as industry liaisons and resources for OSHA’s cooperative programs and Compliance Assistance Specialists and will share information on the best practices of AMI members with others in the industry.

Finally, AMI and OSHA will deliver training and education programs on ergonomic issues at the AMIF Worker Safety, Health and Human Resources Conference and will cross-train OSHA personnel, industry safety and health practitioners in AMI ergonomic best practices or programs.

This Alliance is not the first time AMI and OSHA have teamed up to improve worker safety in the meat industry. In 1990, AMI and OSHA jointly developed the Ergonomics Program Management Guidelines for Meat Packing Plants. Widespread use of these guidelines has contributed to a 40 percent decline in worker illness and injury in the last decade.

“We are proud of the progress we’ve made in enhancing worker safety in our industry, but more needs to be done,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “Today’s establishment of an Alliance between AMI and OSHA represents a positive, preventive approach to worker safety with the potential to yield real results.”

“This program will supplement the regulatory oversight that OSHA exercises at all times throughout our industry. Coupling regulatory oversight with a renewed and energized commitment by both industry and OSHA is bound to create continued, positive improvements,” Boyle said. “With 300,000 people working in the meat industry, our people are our most valuable resources. This Alliance is good for the meat industry, good for our employees – and good government.”

A copy of the signed agreement will be available on http://www.meatinstitute.org.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI's members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the industry. Its affiliate, the AMI Foundation, is a separate 501(c)3 organization that conducts research, education and information projects for the industry.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs

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