Workers’ Compensation for Injuries to Poultry Workers
The poultry processing industry is one of the most dangerous in the country, with rates of injury and illness that consistently remain higher than those for all other U.S. manufacturing workers. Inherent health and safety risks of the job such as sharp knives, slippery floors, and toxic chemicals, can cause workers to suffer serious injury or even death. The knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. are dedicated to helping Pennsylvania poultry workers obtain the compensation they deserve for their work-related injuries and illnesses.
Hazards of the Job
The average American consumes more than 100 pounds of chicken per year on average. Poultry companies have a vested interest in keeping production up, and collectively they slaughter billions of birds each year. Unfortunately, when production is the highest priority, it sometimes comes at the expense of worker safety. Some of the most common hazards poultry workers face include:
- Dangerous equipment: Poultry workers are at risk of getting caught in chicken processing machinery. Conveyor belts, laser cutters, and mechanical de-boners are just some examples of the equipment hazards in the industry.
- Denial of bathroom breaks: Some poultry processing companies have denied their employees bathroom breaks, leading some to wear diapers to work. Over time, this can lead to serious health problems, such as hemorrhoids and urinary tract infections.
- Fast pace: Poultry workers are under pressure to perform tasks quickly; one plant reportedly slaughters approximately 200,000 chickens per day, at a rate of 148 birds per minute.
- High noise levels: Poultry processing plants generate high-noise levels. Exposure to this can cause workers to suffer permanent hearing loss, which, in Pennsylvania, may warrant specific loss benefits.
- Lack of training: Workers should be adequately trained on their job duties, as well as the hazards of the job and workplace safety. They should also be given personal protective equipment (PPE) such as goggles, gloves, and arm shields.
- Slippery floors: Slip and falls are one of the leading causes of injury for all types of workplaces. Poultry processing plants are no exception; greasy fat and fallen icicles make it easy for slip and fall accidents to occur.
- Toxic chemicals and pathogens: Chemicals used in poultry slaughter and evisceration present an occupational hazard, as well as droppings from the birds, which can cause serious respiratory illnesses.
- Temperature extremes: Poultry processing facilities are kept cold, typically under 50 degrees. Workers are therefore exposed to such temperature extremes year-round, making them likely to become sick more often.
Lack of Industry Regulation and Oversight
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not impose regulations on the line speeds for worker safety. Also, OSHA does not provide specific guidelines or legal requirements for poultry worker training, therefore workers may only receive training depending on the facility at which they work.
Common Types of Injuries and Illnesses Among Poultry Workers
Poultry workers can suffer a wide variety of injuries ranging from minor to severe. However, given the typical work environment and the inherent hazards of the industry, certain injuries occur more often than others. Some of the most common types of injuries and illnesses include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Shoulder, neck, and back pain
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Poultry Workers with Their Injuries and Illnesses
If you were injured as a poultry worker or you developed a work-related illness, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. You may be entitled to benefits including compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
Located in Philadelphia, Bensalem, Lansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.