Poultry industry injury rates improving

by Bryan Salvage
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TUCKER, Ga. – Over the last 20 years, the incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses within the US poultry sector’s slaughter and processing workforce has fallen by 80 percent and it continues to fall according to the 2013 Injury and Illness Report recently released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This good news was passed along in a joint press release from the US Poultry and Egg Association (USPOULTRY), National Chicken Council (NCC) and National Turkey Federation (NTF).

The release points out that poultry processing’s 2013 rate of 4.5 per 100 workers, a 80.2 percent decrease from 1994 (the oldest data available on the BLS website), when the recorded rate was 22.7 per 100 workers. This demonstrates the enormous progress the industry has made in improving safety for its workforce, the associations add.

For 2013, the total recordable poultry processing illness and injury rate was 4.5 cases per 100 full-time workers (per year), down from 4.9 in 2012. In terms of injuries per 100 full time workers, the poultry industry’s rate of 4.5 was below the rate of 5.7 for all animal slaughter and processing and only slightly above the rate of 4.0 for the entire manufacturing sector.

“The poultry industry relies on our workforce of dedicated employees to provide a wholesome and affordable food source for our nation and the rest of the world,” said Mike Nations, Harrison Poultry, and committee chairman for the Joint Poultry Industry Safety & Health Council, a group comprised of USPOULTRY, NCC and NTF members. “That is why we are so heavily invested in processes and procedures to further reduce workplace hazards. The significant and consistent decline in illness and injury rates among our workforce over the past two decades is a direct result of the poultry industry’s strong commitment to worker safety.”
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