The National Chicken Council reports that the rate at which injuries and illnesses occur among poultry processing workers in the U.S. has reached its lowest level ever and is below the rate found in food manufacturing in general, according to data published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The chicken industry is playing a responsible leadership role in improving worker safety in its workplaces and reducing the incidence of injuries and health problems such as conditions associated with repetitive motion, says the NCC.

For poultry processing, the rate of injury and illness in 2006 was 6.6 per 100 full-time workers, down from 7.4 in 2005. The rate has been cut to less than half the level of 14.2 recorded in the year 2000.

The poultry industry rate was below that of the food manufacturing sector, which was 7.4 per 100 full-time workers, and slightly above the rate of 6.0 for all manufacturing, according to the BLS report.

Detailed data are available at the BLS Web site at http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htm.

The poultry industry is working in a partnership with OSHA to improve its performance even more. Under terms of an agreement signed with OSHA in November 2007, companies in the chicken and turkey industries will work together with OSHA to implement a new alliance on worker safety, especially concerning machinery hazards.