WASHINGTON, August 10, 2020—The International Dairy Foods Association is participating in Safe + Sound Week, a nationwide event held each August by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that raises awareness of the value and importance of proactive workplace safety programs. This year, IDFA is highlighting the dairy industry’s culture of safety that keeps its most valuable asset—the nearly 1 million men and women working in dairy processing plants—safe and healthy on the job.
“Keeping our workforce safe is the number one priority for the dairy industry,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “This emphasis has been especially apparent this year. While the COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges to the health of workers throughout the dairy supply chain, dairy companies went above and beyond to protect their employees. We’re proud of the innovation and proactive approaches that the industry is implementing to continue to improve workplace safety.”
Statistics gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrate the dairy industry’s commitment to continuously improving safety in dairy facilities. The dairy industry has consistently decreased its total recordable case (TRC) rates of occupational injuries or illness over the past 15 years. The dairy product manufacturing industry as a whole has nearly halved its TRC rate, falling from 9.4 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in 2004 to 4.8 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in 2018.
In July, IDFA recognized 28 dairy companies for their outstanding achievements in worker safety in 2019 with the IDFA Dairy Industry Safety Recognition Award. Each company applied by detailing their occupational injury and illness performance rates as well as a providing leading indicators of how the company promotes and implements an effective worker safety program at the facility.
“The dairy processing industry is focused on putting its people first, not only amidst the current crisis, but has done so continuously over the years,” said Dykes. “Through continued focus on the area, improved workforce safety culture, and innovative approaches, our industry can continue to drive injury and illness rates closer to zero.”
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.