CALL (800) 863-5312 TODAY TO SPEAK WITH A DENVER MEATPACKING INJURY ATTORNEY
Meat processing and meatpacking plants house extremely dangerous equipment, harmful chemicals, and many other potential hazards. Although meatpacking plants are regulated under the United States Department of Labor, accidents can, and do, happen.
Zinda Law Group injury attorneys have the experience necessary to help you with your meatpacking accident lawsuit. We have the knowledge and ability necessary to help guide you through every step of your claim. Call (800) 863-5312 to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys about your meatpacking plant lawsuit today. As always, we are here for you and your family through this difficult time.
COMMON HAZARDS IN MEATPACKING PLANTS
Meatpacking and meat processing plants are home to many different kinds of hazards. These hazards, combined with long, grueling working hours, may easily result in injury to the factory workers. Understanding these potential hazards may help employers create a safer environment for their employees. The United States Department of Labor has set forth numerous meatpacking plant hazards, as well as potential solutions:
Biological agents include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms and toxins. Biological agents have the ability to harm human health. Health effects may include an allergic reaction, sepsis, meningitis, or even death. Meat processing workers are exposed to biological agents in all aspects of their job, such as during slaughter, when handling meat, and when exposed to sick animals. Some specific diseases of concern for meatpacking workers include:
- Brucellosis. Brucellosis is a bacterial infection with symptoms ranging from a fever and mild headache to severe diarrhea and vomiting. In rare instances, brucellosis can be fatal. Animals may transmit this infection to humans by way of direct contact or by the inhalation of infected aerosol.
- Influenza. Influenza is a virus that can cause both the seasonal flu, as well as the pandemic flu. Influenza can be transmitted from animals to humans, as seen during the 2009 “swine flu” pandemic.
- LA-MRSA. LA-MRSA is the Livestock-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. LA-MRSA is an infection of the skin and soft tissue and can be transmitted when workers come into contact with pigs and cattle.
- Q Fever. Q fever is a bacterial infection transmitted to workers who have been exposed to infected animals. Symptoms typically include fever, headache, muscle aches, or cough, but may be more serious, causing pneumonia or hepatitis.
To mitigate the risk of biological agents, meat processing workers should wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as waterproof gloves, facemasks, and goggles. Further, workers should be trained on biological hazards, recognition of symptoms, and proper hygiene practices.
Working with electricity can be extremely dangerous and has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard. The United States Department of Labor’s ) has put forth electrical standards that are designed to protect employees who are exposed to certain dangers, such as electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions.
Possible solutions to help reduce the risk of injury associated with electrical work may include:
- The use of insulation
- Electrical protective devices
- Safe work practices
Workers in meatpacking plants are commonly exposed to hazardous chemicals. Adverse health effects from chemical exposure may include skin rashes, eye, nose, and throat irritation, burns, and shortness of breath. Specific chemical hazards in the meatpacking industry include:
- Ammonia. Ammonia is sometimes used in meatpacking plants for refrigeration. Ammonia may cause irritation to eyes and the respiratory tract.
- Chlorine. Chlorine is a disinfectant that is sometimes added to water for the sterilization of the meat. Chlorine may cause respiratory irritation and breathing difficulties.
- Carbon Dioxide. Meatpacking plants may use carbon dioxide in the form of dry ice to keep meat cold. Inhaling carbon dioxide may cause shortness of breath, dizziness, and vomiting.
- Hydrogen Peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is sometimes used in meatpacking plants as a disinfectant. Hydrogen peroxide can cause eye, nose, and respiratory infection.
- Peracetic Acid. Peracetic acid is sometimes used as a disinfectant. Peracetic acid has been associated with respiratory irritation.
The Centers for Disease Control has reported that approximately 22 million workers each year are exposed to potentially damaging noise in the workplace. Noise-related hearing loss is, therefore, one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States.
OSHA requires that all employers must implement a hearing conservation program when noise exposure is at, or above, 85 decibels averaged over an 8-hour working shift. If you need to raise your voice to speak to someone 3 feet away, the noise levels in your workplace may be over 85 decibels. OSHA’s required hearing conservative programs are meant to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve any remaining hearing, and equip workers with the knowledge to safeguard themselves against hearing loss.
If you have been injured in a meat processing plant or meatpacking plant, you may be entitled to compensation. A Zinda Law Group meatpacking claim attorney may be able to help you with all aspects of your lawsuit. We have the ability to investigate your case, determine who is at fault, and negotiate on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
COMMON HAZARD CONTROL MEASURES IN MEATPACKING PLANTS
Meatpacking and meat processing plants are some of the most dangerous places to work in America. Not only are employees surrounded by dangerous equipment and hazardous chemicals, but they are also pushed to package meat as quickly as possible. For example, one woman reported packaging between 40 and 50 hams per minute.
To combat potential injury in the meatpacking industry, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has outlined common hazard control measures that these factories can implement. These measures include:
- Providing personal protective equipment
- Guarding dangerous equipment
- Maintaining walking and working surfaces to prevent slips and falls
- Preventing all exit doors from being locked or blocked while employees are in the building
- Improving ventilation measures to protect workers from chemical and biological hazards
Following OSHA’s hazard control measures may increase employee and employer knowledge of the hazards within the meat processing and meatpacking industry. Further, understanding the hazards can help meatpacking workers and employers to work together to eliminate these dangers within the factories.
COVID-19 EXPOSURE AMONG MEATPACKING PLANT WORKERS
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that has affected millions of individuals across the world. There have also been multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 among meat processing and meatpacking plants in the United States.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has put forth five distinctive factors as to why meatpacking plant workers may be more prone to COVID-19 exposure when compared to other kinds of workers:
Distance Between Workers
Meat and poultry processing workers typically must work very closely with one another on the processing lines. Further, workers may also be in close contact when clocking in or out, during breaks, or in locker rooms.
Duration of Contact
Not only do meat and poultry workers tend to work closely together, but they also tend to have prolonged contact with one another. For example, meatpacking workers may have 10 to 12-hour shifts working closely together on the processing lines. Continued contact with potentially infectious individuals increases the risk of COVID-19.
Type of Contact
Meatpacking plant workers may be exposed to COVID-19 through respiratory droplets in the air. For example, if a worker with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, he or she may spread the virus to others. Exposure to the virus may also occur from contact with contaminated surfaces, such as workstations or break room tables.
It is common for meat and poultry processing workers to share transportation to work. For example, multiple workers may car-pool or use public transportation to get to and from work.
Community transmission is a term used when an illness, or virus, is spread in a way where the source of the infection is not known. Frequent contact with fellow workers in community settings may cause community transmission of COVID-19.
CALL ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY TO SPEAK WITH ONE OF OUR EXPERIENCED MEATPACKING CLAIM LAWYERS IN DENVER
Meatpacking and meat processing plants can be extremely dangerous. Not only are there harmful chemicals, heavy equipment, and slippery floors, but the employees are often pressured into working at a fast pace to meet the demand for meat products in the United States. A combination of all these elements may easily result in accidents.
Zinda Law Group personal injury attorneys may be able to help if you have sustained an injury from a meatpacking plant accident. We have the experience necessary to investigate your claim, negotiate on your behalf, and fight for you in front of a judge if a settlement cannot be made.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a meatpacking plant accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact us today at (800) 863-5312 to schedule your free consultation with a Denver personal injury lawyer. You do not pay us a thing unless we are able to get you compensation in your meatpacking plant lawsuit. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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