Meatpacking plants play an intrinsic role in supplying animal food products to hungry consumers. Despite the importance of those who operate them, the work comes with inherent dangers.
The hazards these employees must contend with are of inherent interest to anyone wanting to improve workplace safety.
Repetitive motion injuries
One risk from laboring in a meatpacking plant is developing a repetitive motion injury. Meatpacking workers perform specific tasks over and over for extensive periods, which can lead to debilitating musculoskeletal disorders. Such ailments commonly affect the hands, wrists and shoulders, causing intense pain and severely limiting mobility.
Chemical and biological exposure
Meatpacking involves extensive use of cleaning agents and sanitizers. Workers may experience contact with these substances, subsequently leading to skin irritation, respiratory issues and other health problems. Additionally, handling raw meat increases vulnerability to harmful biological agents that cause infections and illnesses.
Amputation and crushing accidents
Meatpacking plants use heavy machinery for processing and packaging. Employees operating them face the constant threat of losing a limb or experiencing a crush injury. Vigilance and proper training are necessary to prevent such incidents.
The machines in meatpacking warehouses generate high levels of noise, exposing those nearby to the threat of hearing loss. Adequate protection is necessary to protect the ear’s sensitive inner parts. Anyone earning a living in the meatpacking industry could become one of the 28.8 million Americans needing a hearing aid.
The hazards associated with meatpacking plants have significant implications. Employers must adhere to many safety standards that foster a healthier working environment.