Employees who work in meat processing facilities face many risks including respiratory illnesses, cuts, burns, lacerations, chemical/biological exposures, and amputations. For years, government investigators have warned that employers have not done enough to adequately protect their workers from the risk of serious injury or death. Indeed, there are many longstanding concerns about packing plants that recent events have brought back into the public focus.
GAO Report Highlights Occupational Disease Risk
In December 2017, the Government Accountability Office released a report that highlighted some of the dangers packing plant employees faced on a routine basis. These including respiratory illnesses caused by peracetic acid which is used to disinfect carcasses. It also found that many workers lacked adequate access to bathroom facilities. Investigators also determined that many suffered negative kidney function, repetitive motion injuries, and that accessibility to first aid stations was severely lacking.
Common Work-Related Injuries
Workers in meat processing facilities operate in cramped conditions around fast-moving conveyors designed to process as many carcasses as possible, as quickly as possible. This creates a hazardous work environment where workers can suffer entanglements in machinery, cuts from electric saws, and toxic biological exposures. As of 2020, government inspectors are also investigating the potential for exposure to COVID-19 and the appropriate protective steps required to keep meatpacking employees safe from yet another work-related hazard.
Common injuries suffered by packing plant workers include:
- Fractured fingers
- Broken bones
- Second-degree burns
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Nerve damage
- Chronic respiratory illness
- Chemical exposure
- Eye injuries
Workers’ Compensation and Whistleblower Protections for Packing Plant Employees in Nevada
Packing plant employees in Nevada can file whistleblower complaints with OSHA over unsafe working conditions. Individuals who file complaints are protected against retaliatory actions including reduction in pay, reassignment, and termination of employment. When OSHA investigates and determines there is merit to the employee’s claim, the employer can face significant fines and penalties. Most importantly, whistleblower complaints can force the employer to correct safety deficiencies that can cause serious harm or injury.
Workers who suffer work-related injuries while working in packing planting plants in Nevada can file workers’ compensation claims. A workers’ compensation attorney in Las Vegas can help ensure that the claim is prepared correctly and includes all the necessary documentation for approval.