Workers remain afraid to report safety violations

It doesn't matter how bad the job gets. For many workers in industrial meat packing plants, especially those working the "killing floor," a bad job is better than no job at all when your choices are limited.

A November 2017, report filed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on workplace safety, found that workers employed in Nebraska are inclined to stay silent about their work-related injuries and illnesses. They fear retaliation, particularly job loss.

The report focused heavily on those involved in the meat processing and packaging industry, which is a major source of employment for those workers in the area.

While the meat industry has some of the most hazardous jobs in the country, workers often keep their illnesses and injuries to themselves. If they don't, it often means a pink slip rather than reforms.

Adding to the misery of the workers involved, the GAO says that the government is partially to blame. The Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) doesn't like to refer safety violations over to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) because of fears that OSHA might turn an inquisitive eye on the actions (or lack of action) by the FSIS.

Finally, the government seems to be taking a serious look at what's happening on the killing floors at meat packaging plants. Workers are maimed, killed and sickened all the time -- but nobody knows the true extent of the problem because of the fear of retaliation. To combat it, OSHA is now being directed to talk to employees off-site, away from the eyes and ears of any bosses or sycophants eager to move up the workplace ladder.

If you've been injured in a workplace accident and fear retaliation for coming forward to file a claim or lawsuit, explore all your legal options carefully and ask for help when you need it.

Source: kwbe.com, "Report: ‘The Jungle’ 111 Years Later— Kill Floor Workers Fear for Their Jobs," Joe Jordan, Dec. 08, 2017

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