New Jersey workers in the meat industry can face some of the most dangerous working conditions in America. Every week, those in meatpacking plants face head trauma, fractures, burns and even amputations as a result of workplace injuries and accidents. In fact, workers in the industry are three times more likely to have a severe workplace injury than the average worker. For workers in pork and beef plants, the risk of repetitive stress injuries increases by sevenfold.
The danger to workers in these already-fraught conditions may increase as plans are in place to eliminate speed restrictions on pork processing lines. Workplace injuries could escalate as workers are pushed to be even faster in a job that already sees serious risks to health and safety. Industry advocates promoting the removal of the limitations claim that injuries have gone down over the past several decades. They claim that food safety rules will impose their own speed limitations that will also protect workers.
Despite the safety improvements, statistics show that there are at least 17 severe incidents in meat plants every month. These include injuries that require hospitalization, amputation or the loss of an eye. On average, two workers face amputations per week, in most cases due to finger injuries. Chronic ailments are also common among workers in the industry, with the speed, dexterity and repetitiveness of tasks posing a severe risk. Many workers face permanent disability as a result of injuries on the job.
Workers in meat plants face some of the most dangerous conditions, but employees in all industries can suffer severe effects from accidents in the workplace. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help injured and disabled workers protect their rights and secure the benefits to which they are entitled.