Federal regulators recently gathered data from meat processing plants and found that workers are at a higher risk for injury than workers in other manufacturing industry jobs.  Between 2004 and 2013, 151 workers died from injuries sustained at meat and poultry plants.  Injuries at these factories, however, are underreported for several reasons, including: 

  • "Sanitary workers who clean machinery in meat plants have suffered amputated limbs and severed fingers. Some have died on the job. But their cases are not always counted with meat and poultry industry data because many work for third-party contractors.
  • Medical staff at on-site clinics have encouraged workers to return to the line without seeing a doctor for pain. GAO cited a case where a worker made 90 visits to a nursing station before being referred to a physician.
  • Meat and poultry workers are often immigrants or refugees. They may downplay or not report injuries to protect their jobs and livelihoods. Language barriers can also prevent workers from receiving proper safety training."

Due to lack of accurate statistical data on meat plant injuries, the federal government likely does not have the proper information it needs in order to put in place more protections for these workers.  A report conducted at a Maryland plant found that 1/3 of all workers there had injuries that qualify as carpal tunnel syndrome, but most are not reported to OSHA.  The repetitive movements required in these jobs place the workers at risk every day of developing these types of injuries and until policies are put in place to protect the workers, it will continue to be a serious issue and danger to employees.

Be the first to comment!
Post a Comment