Poultry processing workers incur a high rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses

October 04, 2018

There were nearly 230,000 workers employed in poultry processing in 2016. Their work mostly involved slaughtering or preparing poultry and small game. Poultry processing workers routinely use cutting tools, packaging machinery, and other dangerous processes and equipment. Workers in this industry incurred a rate of 4.2 cases of nonfatal workplace injuries and illness per 100 full-time equivalent workers in 2016. That was higher than the rate of 2.9 cases for all private industry workers.

Incidence rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers, 2016
Industry Days away from work cases Days of job transfer or restriction cases Other recordable cases

Poultry processing

0.8 2.1 1.3

All private industry

0.9 0.7 1.3

The higher rate for poultry processing workers mainly resulted from their higher rate of cases with days of job transfer or restriction. That rate was 2.1 per 100 full-time workers in 2016, compared with a rate of 0.7 for all private industry workers.

Although poultry processing workers have a higher overall rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, their rates have declined since 2003.

Incidence rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers, poultry processing, 2003–16
Year Total recordable cases Days away from work cases Days of job transfer or restriction cases Other recordable cases

2003

8.1 0.8 4.6 2.8

2004

7.8 0.9 4.6 2.3

2005

7.4 1.0 3.7 2.8

2006

6.6 0.8 3.6 2.2

2007

6.1 0.7 3.3 2.1

2008

6.1 0.8 3.2 2.0

2009

5.5 0.8 2.9 1.7

2010

5.9 0.9 3.2 1.8

2011

5.8 0.9 3.0 1.9

2012

4.9 0.7 2.6 1.6

2013

4.5 0.7 2.3 1.5

2014

4.3 0.6 2.3 1.3

2015

4.3 0.8 2.1 1.4

2016

4.2 0.8 2.1 1.3

A study of cases involving job transfer or restriction for the years 2011–13 included poultry processing. In poultry processing, the study found that repetitive motion, such as hanging poultry or using a knife, led to a higher rate of cases involving job transfer or restriction than days away from work. Data from 2016 showed that poultry processing workers had a rate of 13.3 cases of days away from work due to repetitive motion per 10,000 full-time workers. That compares with a rate of 2.1 cases for all private industry workers.

The data on nonfatal workplace injury and illness are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. For more information, see the definitions of terms. Employment data are from the Current Employment Statistics program.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Poultry processing workers incur a high rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/poultry-processing-workers-incur-a-high-rate-of-nonfatal-workplace-injuries-and-illnesses.htm (visited October 19, 2018).

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