February 19, 2020

Poultry Plant Worker Injuries Likely to Increase Under New USDA Regulations

chicken processing plant work injuriesWhen I first started practicing law back in 1988, I worked as an associate attorney for a well established insurance defense law firm.  I stayed at that firm for about 7 years before leaving to start my own practice, representing injured workers.

My days as an insurance defense lawyer were invaluable, however, because I learned a great deal about workers’ comp. law from some very good lawyers and I litigated hundreds of cases.   I also traveled throughout the state and got to see numerous job sites in person.

I remember distinctly visiting several poultry processing plants north of Atlanta near Gainesville.  I will never forget watching poultry workers “popping blisters” on conveyor lines of chickens moving quickly overhead.

It is no surprise that poultry plant workers experience a high number of work injuries.  The most obvious type of injuries are repetitive motion injuries such as carpel tunnel, but I also see shoulder injuries, crush injuries and puncture wounds.

Now, I am reading that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a rule change that will reduce federal oversight of poultry processing plants while allowing processors to speed up their kill lines. 1.

The federal government will save $90 over three years by eliminating the fourth inspector.  At the same time, large processing companies will save over $250 million by increasing the speed of the lines. [Read more…]

  1. Currently USDA regulations required processors to allow four inspectors per line with the lines producing 140 chickens per minute.  The new regulations would only call for three inspectors per line, while allowing the lines to turn 25% faster – 175 birds per minute.

Carpal Tunnel Diagnosis Need Not Arise from Repetitive Motion Job Tasks

In our Georgia workers compensation law practice, we regularly see carpal tunnel cases.  Carpel tunnel syndrome arises when the muscles in the wrist swell and compress the nerve running down the arm into the hand.  When this median nerve gets squeezed, you will experience pain, numbness and tingling in the hands.  In severe cases, a patient can suffer permanent nerve damage.  Females are more likely than males to develop carpel tunnel syndrome.

If rest does not resolve the condition, the usual treatment for carpel tunnel injuries is surgery called a carpel tunnel release expands the space for the nerve and tendons and thereby relieves the pressure on the nerve.

Carpel tunnel injuries usually arise from repetitive motion type jobs.  Examples of these types of jobs include:

  • deboning chickens
  • typing
  • sewing
  • meat packing
  • small parts assemblers

At Ginsberg Law Offices, we represent many carpel tunnel claimants.  An important part of our work is to get our clients to a doctor who specializes in wrist, hand and repetitive motion injuries and to see to it that our clients get appropriate rehabilitation care. [Read more…]