Pennsylvania meatpackers are may incur second degree burns, fractured fingers, head trauma and amputations. According to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, these are just a sampling of the severe injuries that can be sustained at a meat plant in the United States every week.
Statistics show that the likelihood that American meat workers will sustain a serious injury is three times more than that for an average American worker. Those who work with beef and pork are seven times more likely to develop repetitive strain injuries. There is concern that with the removal of speed restrictions for pig processing lines, the tasks will become more difficult and result in more injuries.
Some industry and government groups have asserted that the rate for worker injuries has dropped during last few decades, even if the numbers are still higher than the average. They believe that having strict regulations in place regarding food safety will result in restricted line speed times.
OSHA records show that at least 17 severe workplace incidents, or incidents resulting in injuries that result in amputations, hospitalization or eye loss, occur monthly at meat plants in the United States. The data also show that amputations occur, on average, at a rate of two times each week. Of the 270 incidents that occurred during a 31-month period between 2015 and 2017, the majority involved the amputation of fingertips or fingers. Some of the incidents involved the loss of toes, hands or arms.
A workers’ compensation attorney may advise clients who sustain serious injuries on the job due to compromised workplace safety about their legal options. In cases where the accident was due to the gross disregard by the employer of safety practices, a lawsuit might be an option.