Poultry Industry Cites Continuous Progress on Worker Safety Record, Responds to Oxfam Report

October 26, 2015

Attributable to the National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association:

Our employees are our most important asset and their safety is of paramount importance.  That’s why perhaps more than any other industry, the poultry industry over the last several decades has focused its energies on the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses, especially musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) like carpal tunnel syndrome, by recognizing the value of implementing ergonomics and medical intervention principles, and working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop guidelines that further help protect our workforce.

U.S. chicken producers are proud of the advancements in worker safety that have been made over the last 20-plus years and the ongoing efforts for continued improvement. The incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses within the poultry sector’s slaughter and processing workforce has fallen by 80 percent in the last 20 years and continues to decline according to the 2013 Injury and Illness Report released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  In fact, poultry processing’s injury and illness rate of 4.5 is on par with all manufacturing jobs and is decreasing at a much faster rate.  In fact, when comparing apples to apples, which Oxfam neglected to do, poultry processing’s rate is much lower than all animal slaughtering and processing, and lower than all food manufacturing in general.

But while the past 20 years has seen a dramatic decrease in the numbers and rates of injury and illnesses occurring in the industry, the poultry industry will continue to seek new and innovative ways to protect our workforce.

It is unfortunate that Oxfam portrays an undeserved negative image of the entire poultry industry despite our outstanding record of improvement in employee health and safety, particularly over the past three decades.  As such, the National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association have addressed some of the facts involving the poultry industry and our approach to worker safety, and has responded to many of the claims, allegations and recommendations brought forth in this report.  A copy of the full response can be read by clicking here.

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About U.S. Poultry and Egg Association

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) is the all-feather organization representing the complete spectrum of today’s poultry industry, whose mission is to progressively serve member companies through research, education, communication and technical assistance. Founded in 1947, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is based in Tucker, Ga.

 About the National Chicken Council

The National Chicken Council (NCC) represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

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