Workers in the animal processing industry are exposed to a much higher
degree of risk than most other workers. The leading causes of harm in
the poultry industry are respiratory illnesses and traumatic injuries
involving equipment and machinery.
Every day, hundreds of thousands of chickens are shipped to plants for
processing. With the introduction of technology intended to facilitate
the growth phase of poultry, there has been a marked increase in the production
numbers being handled by both field and factory workers. There are certain
hazards present when working with animals that do not exist in other industries,
which is why strict measures are in place to prevent accidents from occurring
in the workplace. Hiring a workers’ comp attorney is one of the
first things you should do if you have been injured in the poultry industry.
Nevertheless, due to lax regulations in many states, and an apparent willingness
by companies to avoid those regulations which are in place, accidents
are commonplace. As of today, OSHA has not set strict standards for the
industry. Though the lack of federal regulation is perceived by many business
owners to be positive, many would argue it has allowed employers to reduce
much-needed expenditures in implementing adequate safety measures. Add
in the fact that a great deal of undocumented workers are employed in
processing plants, and the hazardous nature of the situation becomes even
The Troubles that Plague the Poultry Processing Industry
Respiratory illnesses and diseases
These health conditions are mostly contracted in the initial phase of poultry
processing, which is when the birds are being raised to the desired weight.
Whether on small family farms or in large, commercially-based growing
plants, the exposure to hazards such as litter, dander and manure are
high. If inhaled, the airborne spores emitted by these substances can
cause life-threatening respiratory issues to develop.
The individuals at greatest risk are those employees directly responsible
for handling and tending to the chickens. The number of airborne contaminants
is higher when dealing with older birds and during the winter months when
buildings are closed to minimize exposure to the livestock. It is imperative
that proper safety equipment and ventilation are in use. Indeed, employees
should always wear respirators and eye protection, and containment buildings
should be equipped with multiple air vents in an effort to reduce the
potential for workplace respiratory illnesses and diseases.
Workers utilize many types of cutting tools in poultry processing plants,
ranging from knives and scissors to electric deboning saws. These tools
can be sharp and are problematic for assembly line works in the poultry
industry. To prevent cuts, lacerations and loss of limbs, workers are
required to wear arm guards and metal mesh gloves.
Other hazards include skin disorders such as dermatitis, slips and falls,
and contact with chemicals. If you have been injured on the job, do not
hesitate to contact a
workers compensation attorney.