When it comes to dangerous working conditions, the poultry processing plants of Georgia are some of the worst offenders in the country. Workers in these plants are subject to myriad medical problems and injuries due to both unsafe working conditions and the physical demands of their jobs.
Just some of the many injuries and medical conditions these workers suffer are:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Damaged nerves and tendons
- Injuries from saws, knives, and unsafe machinery
- Repeated trauma disorders
In today’s “poultry belt” of Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina, production demands mean that conveyor belts operate twice as fast as they did a decade ago. Assembly line workers must now move their arms twice as fast, repeating the motions of speedily slicing, wrapping and cutting that, over time, lead to serious and sometimes crippling injuries. Many workers require surgery to remedy carpal tunnel syndrome that renders them unable to lift their arms for even the simplest chores. Tendinitis and damaged nerves are also common injuries from repeated tasks. In fact, one in five poultry workers requires some form of surgery due to the physical demands of the job.
Unsafe Working Conditions
Just last year, Coleman Natural Foods of Gainesville, GA was cited by the US Department of Labor for eleven major safety violations at their plant. Some of the violations included:
- Allowing untrained workers to make conveyer belt adjustments
- Operating conveyer belt systems without machine guards used to protect workers from sparks, rotating parts and flying debris
- Failing to provide adequate protection for workers from hazardous chemicals
The picture these violations paint is that Coleman Foods runs its plant with very little regard for the safety of its workers. Coleman Foods is just one of many poultry processing plants in the Atlanta metro area. Others include:
- Koch Foods Inc.
- Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.
- Harrison Poultry Inc.
- Tyson Foods Inc.
- Tip Top Poultry
- Cagle’s Inc.
- Prestige Farms Inc.
- Golden Poultry Company
- Kings Delight
- Queen City Food Incorporated
There are many poultry processing plants in the region, employing thousands of local workers on their assembly lines and in other positions at their facilities.
Know Your Rights
If you are a worker in one of the plants listed above, or any other poultry processing plant in the Atlanta area, you have the right to safe working conditions and compensation pay for any injuries that arise from the duties of your job. If you currently work in a facility that does not provide adequate safety provisions, if you’ve been injured due to this lack of safety or as part of your duties, if you’re suffering from tendinitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or other ailments directly related to your work, you have the absolute right to seek compensation from your employer.
Injured workers are never alone. There are people who will fight for your rights and for the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured at a local poultry processing plant, call a workers’ compensation lawyer to go over your options. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will be able to win you the money you may be owed by your employer as a result of your accident or long term injuries. Don’t just accept your fate. You owe it to yourself, your family and your fellow workers. Picking up that phone is the first step toward justice.