Injuries in Meatpacking Industry are Underreported
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- Injuries in Meatpacking Industry are Underreported
June 6, 2016
Although injuries have diminished in the meat and poultry field, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that safety dangers are more insidious than they appear and workers are at great risk of serious injuries.
Congressional Democrats requested that the GAO conduct a study to assist the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in assessing hazards inherent within slaughtering and process facilities in the U.S. The GAO agreed and reported that regulators often dealt with challenges like the underreporting of injuries, making available injury information unreliable.
OSHA inspections revealed injuries within this industry are more prevalent than in different manufacturing fields. Musculoskeletal problems and carpal tunnel are commonplace due to the repetitive nature of the work.
However, injuries are more likely to be underreported and how often an injury is unreported is unknown. According to the report, noncitizens and immigrants may not want to report their injuries for fear of losing their jobs.
Safety watchdogs underscore the importance of monitoring the meatpacking industry and assert the report indicates workers were not given proper medical treatment. Instead, they were instructed to go back to work even though they were injured.
Researchers investigated and discovered injured employees were provided first-aid, like over the counter medications, instead of being evaluated and cared for by a physician. If workers visited the in-house health unit frequently, they were punished or ignored for seeking medical care.
Industry organizational representatives claimed underreporting of injuries is not widespread and reiterated that injury figures had decreased due to more emphasis on safety. In 2013, meat and poultry injury rates dropped to 5.7 cases per 100 employees down from 9.8 cases in 2004. Automation is attributed to the reduction of injuries.
Have you been injured while working on the job? If so, reach out to the Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys at Phillips Law Group for a free legal consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, injuries, damages and suffering. Since you must meet workers’ compensation deadlines and fill out appropriate paperwork, do not wait to contact us for help on your road to recovery.
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