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Food industry workers face repetitive motion injuries

Like many other kinds of industries, the food industry uses factories and conveyor systems to package, monitor and manufacture products. Some of those facilities, slaughterhouses, can be particularly difficult work.

Slaughterhouse workers face injuries on the job; they are exposed to hazardous equipment and face long-term injury due to repetitive motions. Many people are forced to work for many hours and at high speeds to complete daily quotas; they may receive few breaks and have to work in hot or cold conditions for extended periods of time.

In a case reported by one worker, she was asked to bag up to 50 hams a minute; she worked 12-hour shifts up to seven days a week. She had great reviews and was awarded employee of the month a number of times. Despite this, when she started to have shoulder issues, her employers told her to go home. Then, when she went to the company doctor, she discovered she had a bone spur. It worsened over time, and she had to have surgery. She was diagnosed with a repetitive motion injury.

It's already documented that beef and pork processing workers are close to seven times more likely to suffer from repetitive motion injuries, looking at 2014 data. In a 2015 report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 76 percent of workers in a plant in Maryland had nerve conditions found in at least one of their hands.

If you have worked a job like this, you know how hard it can be on the body. You and workers in these situations do deserve the compensation you need to support yourself when your job directly causes injuries or disabilities that affect you and your family.

Source: KUOW, "Working 'The Chain,' Slaughterhouse Workers Face Lifelong Injuries," Peggy Lowe, Aug. 11, 2016

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