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2007-11-13

Perdue Response to Duke Study on Musculoskeletal Symptoms


The recently published Duke University study on musculoskeletal symptoms among poultry industry workers is completely at odds with our own firsthand knowledge and experience based on treating associates everyday in our onsite clinic, and with the progress we’ve made in addressing ergonomic issues. The fact is, Perdue’s OSHA Total Recordable Incidents, which includes musculoskeletal injuries, are 44% better than the industry average. Specifically, the Lewiston, NC, plant has worked 6 million man-hours without a lost-time accident, including no lost time for musculoskeletal injuries. Worker compensation cases related to musculoskeletal issues at Lewiston have fallen 68% from their highest point.

We've made great progress in addressing ergonomic issues and are proud of our programs and safety record.

  • Over the last 15 years, we’ve worked with OSHA and North Carolina OSH to make extensive changes to improve the workplace, including automation and equipment improvements, job conditioning, job rotation, ergonomic training and treatment protocols of early intervention for MSD symptoms.
  • All of the USDA line-speed-regulated jobs identified as high stress by OSHA have been automated. The job today is to monitor the equipment instead of performing the task itself. We continue to look for ways to improve the ergonomic aspects of our jobs and to further automate where possible.
  • We encourage associates to report any job-related discomfort so we can treat the problem before it becomes a more serious health issue. We have a Wellness Center medical clinic conveniently located on-site at the plant. Associates can go there for medical care during their work shift without clocking out and while being paid. There is no co-pay associated with work-related complaints. We offer alternative jobs for those with medical restrictions from work or non-work related an issue so, in contrast to the study’s claims, there is no risk of job loss for reporting symptoms.
  • Perdue is a pioneer in employee health and safety, building on-site Wellness Centers (medical clinics) at 95% of our major facilities. The Perdue Health Improvement Program (HIP) has won awards including the U.S Secretary of Human Health’s 2007 Innovation in Prevention award. We have safety and ergonomics committees at each of our plants, which include hourly associates, that present recommendations for improving ergonomics and addressing other safety issues.

 

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