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Each month we will update this page to highlight newly released final reports and information on new and emerging hazards we are evaluating. Check back often to see what we are up to!

Evaluation of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Traumatic Injuries Among Employees at a Poultry Processing Plant
The HHE Program was asked by managers of a poultry processing facility to identify the potential for increases in musculoskeletal and upper extremity trauma due to a planned evisceration line speed increase. The request was required by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service to obtain an evisceration line speed waiver as part of the facility’s participation in the Salmonella Initiative Program. We evaluated musculoskeletal disorders and traumatic injuries among employees before (baseline) and after (follow-up) an increase in evisceration line speed. After our baseline evaluation, two evisceration lines were combined into one; this resulted in a similar number of birds processed by most employees daily. At baseline, 41% of participants were performing jobs above the ACGIH TLV for hand activity and force and 42% had evidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. The prevalence of hand or wrist symptoms (pain, burning, numbness, or tingling) was similar at baseline and follow-up.

A link to this final report is available at

Evaluation of Coccidioides Exposures and Coccidioidomycosis Infections among Prison Employees
The HHE Program was asked to determine the incidence of coccidioidomycosis among prison employees and assess ways to reduce potential employee exposures. In June 2013, investigators evaluated employee exposures to the fungus Coccidioides at two state prisons. Both prisons were in areas where Coccidioides naturally occurs. We looked at work and occupational health policies and practices, reviewed state surveillance, medical, and work information for the coccidioidomycosis cases among employees, privately interviewed employees, and looked at the ventilation systems in some buildings. Over a 4½-year period, the state’s records showed 103 employees with a confirmed case of coccidioidomycosis. We do not know if these cases were due to an exposure at work or outside of work. Employees are likely exposed to Coccidioides in the outdoor and indoor work environment, as well as outside of work. HHE Program investigators recommended

  • Wetting soil before disturbing it, and continuously wetting it while digging to keep dust levels down
  • Keeping doors and windows closed as much as possible
  • Providing employees with education and training on coccidioidomycosis and ways to minimize exposure

To read the full report go to

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