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Occupational Injuries to Workers in Meat and Poultry Processing Continues Downward Decline

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Total recordable cases of occupational injuries to workers in meat and poultry processing declined by nearly 5 percent in 2004 to 9.8 injuries per 100 employees per year, according to statistics recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That decrease continues an ongoing and steady decline in recorded worker injuries, which have declined by nearly 67 percent since 1991 – from 30.0 to 9.8 per 100 workers. Total lost workdays case rate, another indicator of the state of health of the workforce, declined again as well, dropping from 15.0 instances per 100 full-time workers in 1991 to 6.6 in 2004.

AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle praised the continuing decline, noting that in an effort to reduce injuries in the workplace, the meat and poultry industry has declared worker safety a non-competitive issue, allowing companies to share innovations and improvements that benefit workers. “The ongoing declines in injuries and lost work days are proof positive that the spirit of cooperation engendered in declaring worker safety a non-competitive issue is successful with a safer and more secure workforce,” said Boyle.

In 1990, the meat industry, which employs 500,000 workers in the U.S., joined in a cooperative effort with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to develop voluntary ergonomics guidelines for the industry. The guidelines are in wide-spread use throughout the industry, and OSHA has called the ergonomics guidelines “a model” for other industries. In 2002, AMI and OSHA entered into a formal alliance to further promote worker and workplace safety in the industry. That alliance continues to provide additional safety improvement opportunities.

“The safety and security of workers is vital to the future progress and profit of this industry,” said Boyle. “We’re quite proud of the advances we’ve made and are committed to making continued strides to develop the safest workplaces possible.”

For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs

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