Background: Employees in meat packing experience one of the highest occupational laceration injury rates in the US. Method: A retrospective study was conducted using OSHA 200 injury and illness logs and First Reports of Injury from two large US meat packing plants from 1998 to 2000. The total workers observed during the study period ranged between 2,449 and 2,682 per year. Results: Laceration injury incidence rates in Plant 1 were 14.0 injuries per 200,000 person hours (per 100 workers per year) in 1998, 11.5 in 1999, and 8.3 in 2000, whereas in Plant 2 the overall incidence rate was 3.7 in 1998, 4.8 in 1999, and 3.0 in 2000. Laceration injury rates in Plant 2 were close to the expectedOSHArecordable laceration injury rate in 1999 (3.0 per 100 workers per year), but Plant 1 was considerably higher. Plant 1 had a kill support department, and removed animal hides whereas Plant 2 did not. Handheld nonpowered tools were the most common contact objects whereas the slaughter department had the highest numberof injuries. Finger injuries from a handheld non-powered tool were the most frequent. Conclusions: Findings confirm the high rate of injury from laceration in this industry and indicate hazard varies across time into shift, task being performed, and type of tool being used.
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