WASHINGTON – Occupational injury and illness incidences in the US poultry sector, which includes slaughter and processing, is still low, according to the recently released 2016 Injury and Illness Report published by the Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In 2016, the total recordable poultry processing illness and injury rate was 4.2 cases per 100 full-time workers (per year). This total is slightly less than the 4.3 cases recorded 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, which is the oldest data available on the BLS website, when the recorded number was 22.7.

“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.

The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council includes members from USPOULTRY, the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation. Collectively, the three organizations represent companies that produce 95 percent of the nation's poultry products and directly employ more than 350,000 workers.