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Job demands and worker health in machine-paced poultry inspection.

Wilkes-B; Stammerjohn-L; Lalich-N
Scand J Work, Environ & Health 1981 Dec; 7(Suppl 4):12-19
The stresses and health effects of machine pacing were investigated among poultry inspectors. Questionnaires requesting information on demographics, job stress, social support, behavioral and psychological strains, and health status were completed by about 800 full time inspectors and 700 other employees and analyzed. Groups were compared based on amount of time on the inspection line. Full time inspectors were considered to have high exposure, part time inspectors had medium exposure, rotating relief inspectors had variable exposure, and supervisors or veterinarians had low exposure. Inspections lasted about 3 seconds per bird in which 20 conditions are checked. Some environmental observations revealed high noise levels, poor illumination, and temperatures often were too hot or too cold. Most facilities were damp and a noxious odor was common. Some ergonomic problems were observed. Full time inspectors scored the highest on under utilization of abilities, work load stress, and behavioral and psychological strain. These workers had the least social support from their supervisors whereas part time inspectors rated their support highest. Full time inspectors were absent more days due to sickness. Rotating relief inspectors were most dissatisfied with their jobs. Full time inspectors had the highest frequency rates for 17 health symptoms including musculoskeletal symptoms, gastrointestinal and visual systems complaints. Relief inspectors had the highest frequency of health symptoms. The authors recommend that poultry inspectors should be given more influence and control over the work process and supervisory support. Overtime should not be imposed and the environment should be made more comfortable.
NIOSH-Author; Lung-irritants; Exposure-levels; Industrial-emissions; Industrial-exposures; Workers; Occupational-exposure; Exposure-limits; Airborne-particles; Industrial-environment; Workplace-studies
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Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health