Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), lauded the poultry industry on the advancements made in workplace safety during his opening remarks at the National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry on August 19. However, he challenged the industry to continue to find better solutions to reduce musculoskeletal disorders and workplace exposure to chemicals. 

"Your participation today in a longstanding, industry specific conference shows your commitment to workplace safety," said Michaels, who also cited incidence rates for workplace illnesses such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome in the poultry industry as higher than industry averages. While recognizing the progress that has been made, Michaels reminded attendees there is still much to do to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.

The 2013 National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry was a three-day event designed specifically for poultry facility and corporate safety personnel. Over 100 safety professionals attended the Conference, which was sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, the Agriculture Technology Research Program at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Poultry Federation, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation. This year's conference was held August 19- 21, at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island, Fla.

In addition to hearing from Michaels, attendees learned more about Continuous Improvement Processes, received an overview and discussed safety implications of the proposed Modernization of Poultry Inspection Act, and discussed the financial impact of illegal drug use in the workplace. A session of sharing best practices and a series of informal roundtables covering many current safety and health issues continued to be popular and beneficial for attendees.