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Workplace accidents: Meatpackers face amputation risks

Friday, May 12, 2017

New York employees in the poultry processing industry are extremely vulnerable to suffering severe injuries. The National Employment Law Project indicates that workplace accidents in this industry cause amputations to 27 workers every day. Reportedly, these catastrophic injuries occur in processing plants of all sizes, including some of the nation’s biggest poultry processors.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the chances of poultry plant workers and meatpackers suffering workplace illnesses or injuries are significantly higher than for employees in many other occupations. The poultry industry is number 12 on the list of severe injury reports. The list is topped by the medical industry, oil and gas support and construction — both institutional and commercial.

The report noted that this is despite the availability of resources that could be implemented to protect the safety and health of employees. Providing safety training that is understandable to the workers can prevent many injuries. Providing prompt medical care for injured workers and ensuring the availability of relief workers to take over when line workers need bathroom breaks can go a long way in improving their chances of escaping injuries.

It is unacceptable that New York meatpackers should lose limbs or fingers in workplace accidents that occur due to the lack of safety protocols. Victims have the right to pursue financial benefits that will pay for their medical expenses. Also, the workers’ compensation insurance program will pay a portion of lost wages and offer vocational training for those who can no longer perform their regular jobs due to their physical restrictions after amputations.

Source: safetyandhealthmagazine.com, “Study of severe injury data finds poultry and meat workers at high risk“, May 4, 2017

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