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US poultry hails improved safety record

The US poultry industry has recorded an all-time low for worker injury and illness within the sector’s slaughter and processing workforce.

Figures recently released for last year mark an 84% decline in illness and injury over the past 25 years.

In the latest report, illness and injury was put at 3.5 cases per 100 full-time workers, down from 2.8 the year before.

It compares with 5.1/100 workers in terms of injuries in similar agricultural industries, and 4.2/100 for the entire food manufacturing sector.

“Employee safety has been and will always be a priority for the poultry industry,” a statement said.

“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.”

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