At the 2017 National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry in Destin, Fla., 147 chicken and turkey facilities received safety awards by the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council. The companies were honored in recognition of their outstanding performance through the implementation of innovative and effective employee safety and health programs.

The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council consists of members from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and 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.

“The poultry industry continues to make great progress when it comes to workplace safety. Today our industry’s safety record is comparable with other manufacturing industries and lower than the rate for the entire food manufacturing sector. Although significant advances have been made, industry safety professionals are always looking for ways to improve. No matter their role, safety is a responsibility expected of all employees in the industry,” said Joint Industry Safety and Health Council Chair Scott Rushing, Sanderson Farms.

Based on the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the poultry processing's total recordable illness and injury rate for 2015 was 4.3 cases per 100 full-time workers. The 2015 rate represents an outstanding 81 percent improvement from 1994.

Award consideration was based on injury statistics over three years and an evaluation of written applications by judges Doug Britton of the Agricultural Technology Research at Georgia Tech Research Institute, Jill James of Vivid Learning Systems and Nancy Bendickson of Aon Global Risk Consulting.  Thirty-five facilities received the highest level of recognition, "Award of Distinction." The other categories included "Award of Honor" and "Award of Merit."