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Poultry Processing's Injury, Illness Rate at All-Time Low - Washington Report

The incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses within the poultry sector’s slaughter and processing workforce has fallen by 82 percent over the last 20 years and continues to decline, according to the 2016 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 2016 was 4.2 cases per 100 full-time workers (per year), down from 4.3 in 2015. The poultry industry’s rate of 4.2 was below the rate of 6.9 for similar agricultural industries in terms of injuries per 100 full-time workers and lower than the rate of 4.7 for the entire food manufacturing sector.

Poultry processing’s 2016 rate of 4.2 represents an 82-percent decrease from 1994 (the oldest data available on the BLS website), when the recorded rate was 22.7, demonstrating the immense advancements the industry has made in improving safety for its workforce.

“Employee safety is of utmost importance. The poultry industry continues to concentrate its efforts on the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses, especially musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, by recognizing the benefit of implementing ergonomics and medical intervention principles, while continually effecting new technology and automation in the workplace,” said the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council in a statement regarding the report’s release.

The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council consists of members from USPOULTRY, the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation.