Although the injury and illness rate for poultry workers remains higher than for all private industry workers, new Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the rate is trending downward.
The BLS reported that there were approximately 230,000 poultry processing workers in 2016. That year, there was an incident rate of 4.2 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time equivalent workers; higher than the rate for all private industry workers, which was 2.9 per 100.
In 2003, there were 8.1 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses per 100 workers in the meat and poultry sector, as compared to 4.8 cases in 2017. The BLS reported that the number of injuries in the poultry industry has decreased by half in the last 12 years.
BLS data also reveals that the days workers spent either away from their jobs, on restricted duty, or transferred to another job due to a workplace injury went down from 4.4 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2016 to 3.6 cases in 2017.
According to the BLS, poultry workers suffer twice as many serious injuries and six times higher illness rates than workers in private industries. Among the hazards faced by poultry industry workers are biological pathogens; chemical hazards; sharp blades, noise, repetitive tasks and extreme temperatures.