All manufacturing jobs have risks, and meat and poultry plants are no exception. Alabama is home to numerous poultry and meat processing plants, and while the jobs typically provide decent wages, they are dangerous.
An April 2016 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that although injuries in the meat and poultry processing industry recently decreased, they still remain higher than rates of injury for the entire manufacturing sector. The report, which studied data from 2004 - 2013, also states that an estimated 151 workers died from on-the-job injuries in meat and poultry plants.
What are the specific risks workers face?
The GAO report covers the most common types of serious injuries that poultry and meat plant workers suffer, including:
- Injuries from contact with live animals
- Head and brain injuries
- Broken bones and amputations
- Injuries from falls
- Repetitive motion disorders
- Chemical and steam burns
- Loss of hearing
- Electric shock
- Exposure to toxins
In the worst cases, workers may suffer fatal injuries. This is fairly common in machinery accidents in which workers may suffer electrocution, suffocation or get caught in the machine's moving parts.
Options for injured workers
Workers' compensation will cover some of your losses after a work injury. You will receive medical coverage and partial wage replacement benefits. Depending on the injury, there may be a financial award for the loss of a body part, although Alabama pays the lowest rates for this in the country.
When a party other than your employer is involved, such as the manufacturer of defective machinery, you may seek additional damages from that third party. These third-party lawsuits provide damages for pain and suffering, which workers' comp does not cover. Seriously injured workers often find that they need this additional compensation to help with the long-term costs of being out of work and, in some cases, permanently disabled.