Firearms Safety In Official Livestock Establishments
This directive provides safety procedures for inspection program personnel (IPP) to follow when firearms are used in official establishments to render animals immediately unconscious. This directive establishes a safe location that provides protection from a ricocheting bullet or bullet fragments as agreed upon by the establishment and the Inspector-in-Charge (IIC).
- As set out in 9 CFR 313.16, firearms may be used by non-FSIS personnel to produce immediate unconsciousness in the animal by a single shot before it is shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut. As is stated in these regulations, aiming and discharging of firearms is to be directed away from operating areas.
- FSIS is required to provide a safe work environment for IPP per the requirements found in section 19 of the Safety and Health Act of 1970; Executive Order 12196, Occupational Safety and Health Programs for Federal Employees; and 29 CFR 1960, Basic Program Elements for Federal Employees.
- Per requirements found in 29 CFR 1910.132, FSIS is required to assess the workplace to determine whether hazards are present. When a hazard has been identified, FSIS is required to provide personal protective equipment, or, if that solution is not practical, reduce or remove the exposure through other means. In accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) General Duty Clause 5(a)(1), each employer shall furnish to each of his or her employees a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his or her employees.
- FSIS has elected to implement the procedures in this directive specifically to remove the inspector from the area when firearms are used to ensure their safety.
- Following receipt of this directive, at establishments where establishment employees use firearms to render animals immediately unconscious, the IIC, in coordination with IPP at the establishment, are to discuss with the establishment management at the next weekly meeting how IPP will be notified and provided time to move to a safe location before the firearm is discharged and how employees will be notified that it is safe to leave that location.
- The IIC is to document the meeting in a memorandum of interview (MOI) to be shared with all FSIS employees and the establishment management.
- The IIC is to record the resulting safety procedures on FSIS Form 4791-36. Front Line Supervisors are to ensure that all IPP at slaughter establishments that use firearms for animal stunning purposes, including relief inspectors, review the completed form. A copy of the completed form is to be posted in the inspection office to ensure new relief IPP have ready access to the form and are aware of the safe location.
- If IPP have questions or concerns regarding firearms safety, they are to immediately notify their chain of command of the issue and seek guidance to meet and resolve the concern.
For further information regarding this directive, contact an immediate supervisor or the Occupational Safety and Health Specialist for your District Office. Contact information for FSIS Occupational Safety and Health Specialists is available on the public FSIS Safety Website.