“An understanding of the behavior of livestock will facilitate handling, reduce stress, and improve both handler safety and animal welfare.” - Behavioral Principles of Livestock Handling - Temple Grandin
Before allowing even a single boot, hoof, or paw into the corrals and alleyways, consider that the very first step to creating, achieving and maintaining a safe and healthy working environment while handling livestock begins with the three prerequisites being met as listed below:
1. The establishments senior management shall be committed to providing and maintaining the necessary human and financial resources of ensuring a safe and healthful working environment for all employees and plant visitors; that is, abiding to the OSHA Act of 1970; including germane amendments and applicable OSHA standards.
2. The establishments senior management shall be committed to providing and maintaining the necessary human and financial resources of ensuring that all livestock are treated and handled in a humane manner as per the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1978; including germane amendments and applicable USDA/FSIS Notices and Directives.
3. An annually updated company mission statement that is signed and dated by the person with overall responsibility for the site that clearly conveys senior management’s steadfast and sincere commitments contained within lines 1 and 2.
That's two federal regulatory acts blended and managed into one.
Lines 1 and 2 in the semblance of a single mission statement will provide your establishment with a solid foundation for your occupational safety/health and humane handling of livestock programs while contemporaneously becoming a multipurpose tool that you’ll refer to time and again with those compulsive fed/state inspectors, finicky customers, and them blazing-saddled 3rd party auditors.
Among other recommendations that'll be covered in this series, your company mission statement can be:
•The preamble to your company’s written humane handling of livestock program;
•Incorporated into your company’s written occupational safety and health program;
•Translated into a language that all employees can understand;
•Used and expanded upon for imperative employee training;
•Issued to all plant visitors with required dated signatures of acknowledgment, (with a witness) that is filed for any needed future references;
•Posted at all establishment entrances, offices, and employee break areas; including the establishment’s security entrance gate(s) and high-foot traffic areas of the corrals.
Without senior managements unwavering commitment to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy working environment and treating all livestock humanitarianly- all efforts will more than likely fail.
It's that simple and that important.
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