The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its guidelines, “Prevention of Musculoskeletal Injuries in Poultry Processing,” specifically designed for poultry processing operations.

OSHAOriginally published in 2004, these updated guidelines provide recommendations for poultry processing facilities to reduce the number and severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).  In preparing the recommendations, OSHA said it reviewed existing practices and programs as well as available scientific information on ergonomic-related risk factors in poultry processing facilities.

A copy of the 40-page guidance document is available by clicking here.

The issuance of the new guidelines comes on the heels of the tremendous progress the poultry industry has made in reducing its injury and illness rate over the last two decades.

The incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the poultry sector, which includes slaughter and processing, is at an all-time low, according to the 2012 Injury and Illness Report recently released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The total recordable poultry processing illness and injury rate for 2012 was 4.9 cases per 100 full-time workers (per year), down from 5.8 in 2011.  In terms of injuries per 100 full-time workers, the poultry industry’s rate of 4.9 was below the rate of 6.3 for all animal slaughter and processing and lower than the rate of 5.6 for the entire food manufacturing sector.

Poultry processing’s 2012 rate of 4.9 represents a 78 percent decrease from 1994 (the oldest data available on the BLS website), when the recorded rate was 22.7, demonstrating the enormous progress the industry has made in improving safety for its workforce.