The incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the poultry sector, which includes slaughter and processing, remains at an all-time low, according to the 2015 Injury and Illness Report released on Oct. 28 by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The total recordable poultry processing illness and injury rate for 2015 was 4.3 cases per 100 full-time workers (per year), the same rate as 2014, and lower than the 2015 rate of 4.7 for the entire food manufacturing sector. Poultry processing’s 2015 rate of 4.3 represents an 81 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.
“Our employees are our most important asset, and their safety is of paramount importance,” said the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation in response to the report’s release. “Perhaps more than any other industry, the poultry industry has focused its energies on the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses, especially musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, by recognizing the value of implementing ergonomics and medical intervention principles and continually embracing technology and automation in the workplace. While the past two decades have seen a dramatic decrease in the numbers and rates of injury and illnesses, the poultry industry is committed to seeking new and innovative ways to protect our workforce.”