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Packinghouse employees can suffer career-ending injuries

When people in California buy meat in a grocery store, packaged up tidily in plastic foam trays, they may not give much thought about how the meat got there. From raising the livestock to getting the meat on the supermarket shelves, many different tasks must be completed. For some people, this means making a living butchering meat in a packinghouse. However, working in a packinghouse can be very dangerous.

For example, beef-processing workers could have their fingers or hands amputated when handling or cleaning machinery or cutting large pieces of meat. Assembly line workers can develop repetitive strain injuries. It is important that workers are trained properly. For example, using machinery such as fork lifts can lead to caught-between injuries if the person operating the fork lift is not properly trained in doing so.

Unfortunately, many of these types of incidents boil down to workplace safety. Packinghouses do not always provide workers with a safe environment in which to do their jobs, leading to career-ending injuries or even fatalities. In 2014 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised its rules, making it mandatory for employers to provide the agency with notification if a worker suffered an amputation or other injury requiring hospitalization, or if a worker died in a work-related incident. However, far too many people in the packinghouse industry are losing limbs, suffering orthopedic injuries or suffering other injuries that effectively end their careers.

These injuries, especially when caused by employer negligence, can be especially difficult to deal with. However, employees in such may have options. Legally, they may be able to report the incident to OSHA, pursue workers' compensation, disability benefits or in some incidents pursue a lawsuit against a third party. What options a person has is dependent on the facts of their case. The types of compensation pursued will depend on the injury and how it impacted the worker's life. Workers who suffer career-ending injuries will want to ensure they understand all their legal options, so they can choose the one that best suits their needs.

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