WASHINGTON – The US Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the latest data on meat and poultry packers and processors for 2019. The statistics indicated the incident rate for non-fatal occupational injuries in the industry continued the recent trend of all-time lows.
The BLS numbers showed 4.0 cases of occupational injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in the meat and poultry sector. That number beat the 2018 mark of 4.3 cases per 100 full-time workers and the 2017 record mark of 4.8 cases per 100 workers.
“The BLS report proves that year after year, meat and poultry companies remain committed and have invested billions of dollars to reduce worker injuries and illnesses,” said Julie Anna Potts, president and chief executive officer of the North American Meat Institute “Our members are proud of their record to reduce workplace related injuries over the last 20 years and will continue to adopt new technologies and methods to ensure the safety and well-being of its critical infrastructure workforce.”
In 2008 the industry incident rate was 10.3, and in 1998 the incidence rate was 20.1.
BLS also showed numbers for separate categories of the industry including poultry processing (3.2 cases), meat byproduct processing (6.5 cases) and animal slaughtering except poultry (5.1 cases).
Serious injuries categorized under the “Days Away, Restricted, or Job Transfer (DART)” rate, totaled 2.8 cases per 100 workers, also the lowest ever, dropping from 3.6 cases in 2018.
NAMI said it declared worker safety a non-competitive issue in the early 1990s which helped companies collaborate to find solutions that would prioritize worker safety. Since that time, the trade association worked with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union to develop Voluntary Ergonomic Guidelines for the Meat Packing Industry.