Meat is a big part of many people’s diets across the United States. Yet most never give a second thought to where that meat comes from and its process before you pick it up off a supermarket shelf.
Some people have been highlighting the inhumane conditions in which many of the animals we eat are raised and die for years. Yet it is only recently that attention has been given to the poor conditions those who pack the meat work in.
You are three times more likely to suffer a severe injury if you work in meatpacking than the average for all industries. If you deal with pork or beef, that figure is even worse, at seven times more than the average.
What injuries can occur?
Amputation is one of the biggest risks, with two meatpackers losing limbs each week. You are working on a conveyor belt designed to section up animals’ bodies as fast as possible. As far as the machines know, you are just one more body if you get in the way.
While few injuries are as traumatic as amputation, plenty of others could see you needing medical treatment, time off work, and perhaps a career change.
- Repetitive strain injuries: Your movements are limited when working on the line, so repeating them daily can strain your wrist or arms to the point where you cannot even hold a coffee mug.
- Back injuries: Whether being bent over the line or required to haul heavy carcasses, you can soon do long-term harm to your back.
The meatpacking industry does not have a great reputation for caring for its workers, so if you are injured on the job, be sure to get legal help to fight for your right to workers’ compensation.