Fehr Graham experts offer pre-OSHA inspections

An aerial lift can help access equipment during an inspection inside a food plant.

Food manufacturers in Illinois and Ohio can expect additional Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections in 2023, after the federal safety agency noted higher-than-normal injuries at those facilities.

OSHA issued an alert for food production facilities in Illinois and Ohio last month, saying it would launch a Local Emphasis Program to improve operations in those areas. It affects manufacturers in areas including confectionary, bakery, animal, fruit and vegetable and dairy products. Those with the North American Industrial Classification code beginning with 311 are included.

Through the Local Emphasis Program, OSHA inspectors will visit facilities looking for safety violations and document changes that must be made. Completing an internal audit with the help of Fehr Graham safety professionals can help get ahead of those inspections and give your facility the information needed to identify and correct potential issues.

Our experts will review your safety procedures by offering:

  • Written policies. We will ensure your company has documented processes for avoiding injury with proper guarding and lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Employee training. Particularly with the high number of seasonal employees in the food production industry, ongoing employee training can be difficult. We offer training specific to the 83,000 Illinois employees in this industry, which will give your workforce the safety knowledge to be OSHA compliant.
  • Risk assessment. We'll evaluate specific, high-injury areas to determine if there are ways to further increase employee safety.

Completing an internal audit and risk assessment before an official agency inspection gives your facility the flexibility to use corrective actions most appropriate and cost-effective for your organization. Once OSHA identifies violations, your business is under time pressure to fix those issues quickly.

In Illinois, there is a 29% higher rate of amputations and a 14% higher rate of fractures in the food production industry than there is for manufacturers overall. OSHA determined those injuries arose mostly from a failure to properly guard or lockout/tagout machinery. Similar statistics have been reported in Ohio.

For the 1,800 food manufacturing plants in Illinois, OSHA will raise awareness through safety programs and enforcing compliance standards. If OSHA does flag violations at your facility, Fehr Graham can help negotiate corrective actions and act as an advocate for your organization as it manages OSHA standards.

This is not the only time OSHA has conducted a Local Emphasis Program. The agency does it anytime it notes above-average injury rates within a region or industry. Last year, a similar program was conducted for food manufacturers in Wisconsin.

Fehr Graham safety professionals are available anytime, not only during a local emphasis program, to help with workplace safety policies, training and practices. Our experts can find violations before an OSHA visit, looking even in areas such as noise, refrigeration, chemical management and process safety management. 

To learn more about how Fehr Graham can help you bring value to your projects, contact us or give us a call at 920.453.0700.

Portrait of seth gronewold Matt Schroeder manages the Environmental Division at Fehr Graham. He provides technical expertise and leadership in environmental, health and safety compliance to clients, staff and other partners across North America. Before joining Fehr Graham, he worked in the manufacturing industry for two decades and now interacts regularly with stakeholders and agencies. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or 920.453.0700.