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The meatpacking industry poses many injury and illness hazards

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | Workplace Injuries

Ohio is the proud home of many facilities that process and package meat for consumers. The meatpacking industry is stable, steady and generally well-paying in most cases.

Unfortunately, meat processing and packing jobs expose employees to several possible injuries and illnesses. Workers’ compensation helps those hurt on the job, but most would rather avoid harm altogether.

When you understand the risks, you have the best chance of leaving your job with your well-being intact.

Chemical hazards

Meat processing and packing require several chemicals to ensure products are safe for consumption. Prolonged or unmonitored exposure to the following examples could lead to respiratory and other health issues:

  • Ammonia—used for refrigeration
  • Chlorine—used for disinfecting
  • Peracetic acid—used for disinfecting

Most times, exposure to chemicals is not life-threatening, but it could cause employees to miss work.

Biological contaminants

If the meat contains harmful biological agents, it could pass to workers, leaving them with an otherwise unexplained illness. Some of the biological hazards inherent to the meat industry include:

  • Influenza (swine flu, etc.)
  • Bacterial infections (brucellosis, Q fever, etc.)
  • Skin and soft tissue infections (livestock-associated MRSA, etc.)

Brucellosis, in particular, can lead to acute illness symptoms like severe vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases, it can also lead to death.

Physical hazards

Meat industry employees may suffer ergonomic injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.) from performing the same tasks on repeat. Other causes of physical harm include the following:

  • Machine-related injuries from using meat slicers and other equipment
  • Slips and falls from slippery floor surfaces
  • Deep lacerations from using knives and cleavers
  • Severely strained or sprained muscles from overuse

Workers’ compensation helps minimize the financial hardships that might arise after a work injury. It can cover your medical bills and replace some of your lost wages. If you are having problems with your claim, consider learning more about the Ohio workers’ compensation program.