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Plant in Worker Illness Investigation Wins Award

An Austin, Minn.-based pork processing plant, the site of several cases of mysterious illnesses among its workers, has won a workplace safety award.

Quality Pork Processors was one of 41 companies presented with the Award of Honor, the highest category among the American Meat Institutes's three levels of worker safety recognition awards. The awards are based on a point system developed by the National Safety Council, which analyzes each of the plants' injury and illness data. A spokesman for the American Meat Institute said the recognition reflected the plant's overall health and safety program, not its handling of a single situation.

At least 18 pork plant workers in Minnesota have come down with a mysterious inflammatory neurological condition they seem to have contracted while removing brains from slaughtered pigs. Researchers are evaluating similar cases among other pork plant workers across the country.


Study Highlights 100-Year History of Oregon Worker Safety

In a 100-page study, University of Oregon professor Bob Bussel, Ph.D., examines how eight state Bureau of Labor Industries (BOL) leaders influenced workplace safety in Oregon throughout the last century, demonstrating that the state government can play a prominent role in ensuring the protection of workers' rights and interests.

Bussel noted that Oregon's challenges include part-time and temporary employment, a trend of treating workers as independent contractors, the privatization of public jobs and the erosion of employer-provided pension and health benefits.

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