Tyson Foods Personal Injury ClaimLast updated on: September 30, 2022
Who is Tyson Foods?
Tyson Foods is one of the United States’ largest meat processing companies. It supplies various meat products such as chicken, beef, and pork to supermarkets and fast-food restaurants all across the nation.
Having tens of thousands of workers and possessing a large share of the meat processing market, Tyson Foods is no doubt a successful corporation. However, it is not without its controversies. Their treatment of employees who suffer workplace injuries has given them a somewhat sour reputation within the industry and public at large.
Tyson Foods Workers’ Compensation
Paying out workers’ compensation claims is an expensive endeavor. Over the past few decades, Tyson Foods has lobbied the local and federal government to lower its liability toward injured workers.
One way Tyson Foods has done this is by requiring its employees to fill out more paperwork or provide more documentation than may be necessary in order to have a successful claim.
Some employees must go to an administrative hearing, which is not unlike a court hearing where parties must argue for their case. Such barriers discourage employees from starting a workers’ compensation claim in the first place.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Prior to workers’ compensation laws, an employee had to sue his or her employer in order to get compensation. Because employers were often much better financed than their employees, employees had very little chance of winning against their employees. Even if employees had a strong case for compensation, employers would often deny payment through various legal loopholes.
Due to the power disparity between employers and employees, the workers’ compensation system was developed to reconcile the two groups. The workers’ compensation system theoretically works as a mutual agreement between employers and employees. Employers promise to compensate employees for their injuries in exchange for employees’ ability to file a lawsuit against them.
Workers’ compensation compensates an injured employee for his or her medical bills and lost wages. Employees may also receive compensation for their rehabilitation. Whether one may receive workers compensation depends on his or her source of injury.
The injury must be related to work. An injury does not necessarily have to be a physical one. It may also be an illness related to work. For instance, if you were exposed to chemicals that cause cancer, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Common Injuries Sustained In The Meat Processing Industry
Meatpacking workers at a Tyson plant do not have an easy job. Constant vigilance is needed as they work with machines that slice and dice. In fact, according to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration, meatpacking employees are three times more likely to receive major injuries than the average employee. Common injuries meatpacking employees have been known to suffer include:
- Meatpacking plants often have floors that are littered with all sorts of substances. In many cases, because of the nature of the work, animal fat and blood remain on the floor for several hours before being cleaned. As a result, the blood and animal fat accumulate, creating a safety hazard for those who walk across the floor. Even if the blood and animal fat are removed from the floor by thorough cleaning, the floor may still be wet from the water and other chemicals used to clean it.
- Because of technological progress, meatpacking employees no longer have to directly cut meat as much as they used to. However, there are still meatpacking employees who still need to cut meat with a knife. Unfortunately, cutting meat for hours at a time raises the risk of accidentally cutting oneself. There have been many incidents where an employee blinded himself or herself by accidently flinging the knife to his or her face or where an employee accidentally cut his or her fingers.
- One of the most difficult jobs at a meatpacking factor is carrying the containers of meat from one destination to another. Unfortunately, these containers are heavy. Carrying heavy containers can cause damage to the back over time.
- Meatpacking employees face chemical dangers in addition to physical dangers. One of the most prevalent chemicals used in meatpacking factories is ammonia. Ammonia is used often to refrigerate meat and to clean the factory. Though quite useful, it can be very dangerous if it makes contact with the body. For instance, it can cause burns and blisters if it touches the skin. It may also cause headaches and nausea if it is breathed in for some period of time. Extremely long exposure to ammonia can cause bronchitis or even pneumonia.
- Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are also present in meatpacking factories. These chemical compounds exist in the vats where dry ice is stored. When meat is prepared for the freezing process, carbon dioxide may possibly escape the vats. Exposure to carbon dioxide without proper ventilation can cause death if the compound accumulates to a significant degree. Carbon monoxide is the more dangerous of the two compounds as it actually blocks your hemoglobin, the molecule that circulates oxygen in your body, from binding to oxygen molecules.
- The thermal degradation of PVC or polyvinyl chloride presents problems for some meatpacking employees as well. Though we use PVC all the time in our food wraps, it can be harmful when heated. Workers exposed to heated PVC may feel irritation in their eyes, nose, and throat. Heavy exposure can lead to difficulty in breathing.
Cumulative Trauma Disorder
- One of the most common health issues meatpacking employees face is cumulative trauma disorder. Cumulative trauma disorder generally occurs because an employee does repetitive movements for several hours a day. Because meatpacking employees often do repeated gripping and twisting motions, cumulative trauma disorder can develop. The most common is carpal tunnel syndrome. Initially, carpal tunnel syndrome may only be a mild discomfort. However, ignoring the symptoms and not properly treating carpal tunnel syndrome may lead to permanent numbness and weakness.
- Constant exposure to raw chicken and other meats increases the risk of salmonella poisoning for Tyson employees. The workplace must be equipped to handle raw chicken and employees must be trained on the risks of salmonella.
What You Should Do If You Were Injured In A Work Accident At Tyson Foods
1. Let Someone Know Immediately That You Have Been Injured
Let a supervisor know as soon as possible if you have been injured at work. Not only can this prevent other workers from getting harmed in the same way, but it also shows that you take the injury seriously.
2. Fill Out an Accident Report
The sooner you fill out an accident report, the more accurate it will probably be. However, you should only sign the accident report if you do not dispute anything written in it. If you are a truck driver and were involved in an accident while driving for Tyson Foods, call the police to fill out a traffic accident report.
3. Receive Medical Attention
If you were seriously injured from the accident and require emergency medical attention, call for an ambulance. Even if you do not believe you were seriously injured, visit the doctor soon after the accident. This way, you can prove that you suffered an injury.
4. Get in Touch with an Injury Attorney
Tyson Foods’ insurance company will likely try to settle your claim for much less than you deserve in order to spend as little as possible on your injury. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine what your claim is worth and help you understand and protect your rights.
Need Help? Contact Zinda Law Group Today
The experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your meatpacking personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Call us today at (888) 653-1650 for a free consultation with one of our meatpacking personal injury lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are by appointment only.