Online Program

Surveillance of non-fatal injuries among workers in a pork processing facility in the midwest

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ketki Patel, MD MPH, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Lina Lander, ScD, Department of Epidemiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Seung-sup Kim, MD, ScD, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Lynette M Smith, MS, Department of Biostatistics, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Risto Rautiainen, PhD, Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Melissa J. Perry, ScD MHS, Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University, Washington DC, DC
Background: Despite high rates of disabling injuries, the meatpacking industry remains difficult to study. We assessed the non-fatal injury incidence and factors associated with injuries in one pork processing facility in the Midwest. Methods: There were a total of 1914 workers in one plant. Data on all injuries reported over a 25-week period in 2012 were analyzed. We used Cochran-Armitage trend test to examine the injuries by shift, day of the week and the entire study period. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate significant factors associated with injuries. Results: The cumulative incidence of injuries was 16% (n=300), and 11 (4%) were OSHA recordable. Majority of injured workers were male (62%), Hispanic (42%), English-speaking (49%), and worked in the processing department (74%). Reported injuries were musculoskeletal pain (31%), contusion (22%), laceration (20%), and other. A decreasing trend was observed in musculoskeletal (p=0.002) and laceration (p=0.02) injuries from 1st to 3rd shift. Compared to all other injuries, musculoskeletal pain was significantly associated with utilizing hand-held tools (OR=3.8, 95%CI:2.0-7.6), repetitive action (OR=12.8, 95%CI:3.3-50.9), transporting an object (OR=5.1, 95%CI:2.3-11.3), and working on the slaughter side (OR=2.5, 95%CI:1.4-4.5). Among all injuries, factors significantly associated with lacerations were working with powered equipment (OR=3.4, 95%CI:1.4-8.4), being male (OR=2.7, 95% CI:1.3-5.4), and 2nd shift (OR=2.8 95% Cl:1.4-5.5). Conclusion: Prospective injury surveillance in the meatpacking plant was very challenging. The estimated incidence rate of OSHA recordable injuries was 2.2 per 100 full-time workers in 2012. More systematic surveillance efforts in the meatpacking industry are imperative.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the occurrences of non-fatal injuries in one pork processing plant in the Midwest. Identify patterns of injuries and factors associated with musculoskeletal, contusion, and laceration injuries.

Keyword(s): Injury, Occupational Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a graduate research assistant and PhD student working with the principal and co-investigators of on-going injury surveillance project in a pork processing facility in the Midwest. My role is to analyze the data and interpret the results for publications. I am a trained physician, MPH (environmental, agricultural and occupational health) and have experience working with agricultural injury surveillance. My research interests include occupational health, injury epidemiology and public health surveillance.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.