A recent report published by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) named the meat processing industry as the most dangerous industry in America. The study, which used data collected from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), found that workers in the meat processing industry are about twice as likely as workers in other industries to be injured on the job and workers in poultry processing are 1.6 times as likely as workers in other industries to be injured at work. These rates exceeded other dangerous professions including those in construction.
Meat Processing Named the Most Dangerous Job in the United States
The study examined more than 17,000 injuries reported from 14,000 companies between January and September 2016. These injuries were reported from 29 states. The study ranked the companies that had the highest numbers of reported worker injuries and found that the companies in the fourth and sixth positions were poultry and meat processing plants.
Speed and Efficiency Priorities Keep Workers from Taking Needed Breaks
One of the reasons behind the higher rate of injuries experienced by meat and poultry workers is the pressure on workers to work at a fast pace, sometimes forcing them to work for hours without a break. One poultry company made headlines when it was exposed that their workers came to work in adult diapers because they were denied the opportunity to take bathroom breaks at work. When an individual cannot take breaks, they cannot concentrate on work and can suffer the effects of fatigue and in some cases, heatstroke and dehydration. A fatigued worker is more likely than a well-rested worker to suffer injuries due to inattention.
A focus on speed and efficiency does not only hurt workers by pushing them to become fatigued. It also pushes management to sidestep or ignore safety procedures, putting workers at additional risk of injury.
Proper safety measures include providing safety training in a language workers can understand, providing prompt medical care for workers who are injured on the job, and routinely inspecting equipment used in the workplace to ensure that it is working correctly. Staffing a workplace with an adequate number of employees is also key to worker safety because having a full staff allows the workers time to take rest, meal, and bathroom breaks. Having a clean work environment is also a part of worker safety – clutter and spills create slip and fall hazards.
Types of Injuries Meat Processing Workers Suffer
OSHA found that 29 workers suffer an amputation or other injury that requires hospitalization every day in the United States. At the two companies named fourth and sixth most dangerous for workers, employees suffered injuries that included finger and hand amputations, chemical burns, and complications of slip and fall injuries including bone fractures.
Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Meat and Poultry Workers Seek Benefits for Work Injuries
Meat processing plants can be dangerous places to work, but accidents can happen in any workplace. When an employee suffers an injury in a workplace accident, they have the right to file a Workers’ Compensation claim to seek coverage for their medical bills and part of their lost wages. To learn more about filing and pursuing a Workers’ Compensation claim with our team of Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation lawyers, complete our online contact form or call 856-414-0010 to schedule your initial consultation with a qualified member of the legal team at DiTomaso Law. Our office is located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and we work with clients throughout South Jersey and Philadelphia.