Today's News

Study: Perdue workers suffering high rate of ergo injuries (11/20)

Despite improvements cited by company officials, injury rates among workers at a Perdue chicken processing plant in Lewiston, North Carolina have barely improved in almost 20 years, according to a report released Nov. 13 by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, the News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) reports.

The study, which was reported in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, was led by Hester Lipscomb, an associate professor of occupational and environmental medicine at Duke. The findings estimate that workers suffer neck, hand and back injuries at roughly twice the rate of other low-paying jobs in the rural Bertie County community about 100 miles northeast of Raleigh.

Lipscomb said depression rates also run significantly higher among the Perdue workers, most of whom are black women.

"It's very disheartening," Lipscomb said. "The plant was cited by North Carolina for pretty egregious conditions almost 20 years ago, and while things have certainly changed at the plant, we don't see significant improvement in the health of the women in that plant."

Perdue made a series of workplace changes after it was fined $39,000 by the state in 1989 following a state ergonomics investigation.

Perdue spokesman Julie DeYoung said those changes included an onsite medical clinic that employees can visit during their shifts without losing pay. The company also provides advice on avoiding injuries and reassigns workers if a job assignment aggravates physical problems, she said.

"The study's findings are completely at odds with our own first-hand knowledge and experience in treating associates every day in our onsite clinics," DeYoung said. "We've made great progress in treating our ergonomic issues."

DeYoung said the number of incidents reported to the state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is 44 percent better than the industry average and workers have logged six million hours without losing time to accidents.

But Lipscomb said many workers told researchers they won't report injuries because they are afraid they will lose their jobs.

Researchers interviewed 291 women every six months for three years in addition to conducting physicals to monitor repetitive-motion injuries and health issues such as obesity and depression.

About 2,500 workers process more than 400,000 chickens a day at the Lewiston plant, Lipscomb said.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

3/31/15 11:00 am EST

Changes to NFPA 70E® – What You Need to Know

NFPA ® for Electrical Safety in the Workplace is revised every three years, providing the most up-to-date requirements for safe work practices to reduce exposure to electrical hazards. This program analyzes several significant changes in 70E ® and is designed to clarify the reasoning behind the changes, and assist in determining how the changes impact employees and employers.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN0215_cover.jpg

2015 February

Check out the February issue of ISHN, which features articles about hand protection.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015

FDO JAN 2015 COVER

 

For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 

CHECK OUT THE JANUARY 2015 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.