Friday, November 27, 2009

1989 changes to Tyson plant still benefit workers today

On Siouxland's News website 24 November 2009

Changes to ergonomics made at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant, in Dakota City, Nebraska, nearly two decades ago to resolve a labour dispute are still reaping benefits, are now the standard for plants across the company.

The tangible benefits have been "a decrease in the injury and illness rate by 67%." Also, it decreased the amount of worker turnover, which was typically high in the meat packing industry in the 70s

Tyson Foods COO Jim Lochner says, "workplace safety and health did not have the attention and focus. It was more of a productivity game without consideration for the health and well-being of the line worker. And what we had to do was really change that whole philosophy."

The Sioux City Journal also covered this story on 24 November 2009.

It adds to the story by saying "Since 1991, OSHA-recorded injuries and illnesses at the Dakota City plant has dropped 67 percent. The rate of instances requiring the care of a physican are 73 percent below 1991 levels." The company and unions agree the changes created a much safer workplace with key program's success bing the workers themselves who serve as safety and ergonomics monitors and suggest changes to improve worker safety.

Andy Brazier

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