USA, Washington. US meat and poultry packers and processors continued to make significant progress in workplace safety in 2017, as the newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) incidence rate for non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses reached an all-time industry low.
In 2017, there were 4.8 cases of occupational injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in the meat and poultry sector. This figure represents an improvement from the previous industry low of 5.3 cases of occupational injuries and illnesses per 100 workers recorded in 2016. Historic BLS data reveal that the meat and poultry industry has continued to make substantial worker safety progress, as the number of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses has been cut in half during the past 12 years.
In the early 1990s, the Meat Institute declared worker safety a non-competitive issue, which encouraged member companies to collaborate to find solutions that prioritized and enhanced worker safety. The meat industry, together with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, also developed Voluntary Ergonomic Guidelines for the Meat Packing Industry — guidelines that OSHA called a “model” for other industries.