The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published a final rule today that will require meat, poultry, and egg processing facilities to pay overtime for inspection program personnel donning and doffing activities conducted outside of the eight-hour shift. Under the final rule, FSIS has defined an inspector’s eight-hour work day as including time spent donning and doffing required protective gear and walking to and from the inspection station.  Under the rule, FSIS will inform establishments how long donning and doffing will take so establishments can plan their operating schedule or overtime accordingly.  The amount of time will be specific to each establishment.

In addition to the time spent donning and doffing protective gear at the beginning and end of each shift, the time spent donning and doffing protective gear before and after the lunch period is also to be included.  Also, donning and doffing activities related to retrieving, cleaning, and storing equipment are included.

The final rule notes that donning and doffing includes both equipment required by FSIS and equipment required by the establishment.  FSIS required equipment includes hard hats, hearing protection, cut resistant and cover gloves, and slaughter equipment (knives, hook, steel, and scabbard).  The time spent donning and doffing skid-resistant footwear, however, is not included unless the establishment requires this to be done on site.

FSIS issued a notice (22-11) last week to its inspection program personnel instructing them as to how to measure the amount of time on-line slaughter inspectors take to don, doff, and walk to and from their workstation.  In calculating the time required to perform these activities, inspection personnel are instructed to round the cumulative time for these activities to the next whole minute.  However, for pay purposes, the cumulative time is rounded up to the next quarter hour (for example, 15 minutes or less is rounded to 15 minutes of overtime if not performed within the eight-hour shift).  The notice also stated that the new requirement would apply beginning with pay period 12 (June 5 – June 18) and that establishments will be billed for any overtime when the final rule is published and implemented.  Under today’s final rule the implementation date will be July 11, 2011.

A copy of the final rule is available at

A copy of Notice 22-11 is available at