South Carolina poultry processing workers may be in one of the most hazardous occupations according to a report from the National Employment Law Project. Between January 2015 and September 2016, OSHA received reports on 180 severe injuries in poultry processing plants. This places poultry processing in 12th place in the country for reports for severe injuries.
Overall, there were reports of incidents from 14,000 companies in 29 states reporting incidents in the time period selected for the report. Two firms that process chicken and meat ranked in 4th and 6th place for firms with the highest number of severe injuries while a third poultry and meat processing firm came in 14th place.
The incidence of severe injuries in meat and poultry processing is higher than in the steel, auto and sawmill industries. A press release from NELP stated that following basic OSHA safety standards could prevent these processing plant accidents.
If meat or poultry plant workers are injured on the job, they are probably eligible for workers’ compensation. An employer might tell them that they are not eligible or pressure them to not apply for compensation. The worker might even face retaliation for applying for compensation. Therefore, injured employees might want to speak to an attorney about their rights. An attorney also might be able to assist an employee in applying for compensation or in appealing a claim that has been denied. For example, a poultry worker might develop a repetitive stress injury after performing the same motion over a period of years. Because this is not linked to a single incident or an accident, there may be an attempt to argue that the employee’s injury is due to something not work-related.