According to US Department of Labor research, meat industry incident rates improved from both 2017 and 2016 levels, reaching a new, all-time industry low of 4.3 cases per 100 full-time workers per year. The most serious injuries, those included in the ‘Days Away, Restricted, or Job Transfer (DART)’ rate, also dropped from 2017’s 4.6 to 2018’s 3.6, also the lowest rates ever recorded.
In a joint statement, the US Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation said: “Our employees are our most important asset, and their safety is of paramount importance. Perhaps more than any other industry, the poultry industry has continually focused its energies on the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses.
“This most recent data recognizes the excellent safety performance achievements the poultry industry has accomplished. Surpassing the ‘all of manufacturing’ percent is the next milestone our industry hopes to achieve in our continuing quest to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees.”
The three poultry bodies form part of the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council. The working group added that more work is being done in the area. “Employee safety has been and will always be a priority for the poultry industry. The industry continues to focus its efforts on the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses, especially musculoskeletal disorders such carpal tunnel syndrome, by acknowledging the benefit of implementing ergonomics and medical intervention principles, while continually implementing new technology and automation in the workplace.
“Though the past two decades have shown a notable decrease in the numbers and rates of injury and illnesses, the poultry industry is steadfast in pursuing new and inventive ways to protect our workforce.”
The North American Meat Institute president and CEO Julie Anna Potts also praised the findings. “The success of our industry depends on a safe and healthy work environment for the 800,000 people who produce meat and poultry.”