Most people associated Oklahoma with a handful of industries: oil and gas, biotech, and aviation. Our open landscapes, though, make us an ideal place to raise chickens on an industrial scale, and a number of farms and processing centers can be found around the state, including a few right here in Oklahoma City.
You might think that raising chickens is hard but relatively safe work, but the truth is anyone who raises livestock, or works at a processing plant, faces a certain number of dangers. Some of the most common dangers facing line workers include:
- Loss of body parts, such as fingers, from crushing or slicing
- Hearing loss
- Broken bones and strains from slips, trips and falls
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals, such as ammonia
- Burns and scalds
- Repetitive stress injuries
In addition, poultry processing plant workers risk exposure to dangers related specifically to poultry, like psittacosis, a bacterial infection that can lead to pneumonia, and avian flu.
What can be done to prevent or minimalize the dangers to workers?
A wide variety of actions can be taken in order to prevent or minimalize the dangers and injuries poultry processing plant workers face. For example, poultry processing plants should follow and be up-to-date with laws and regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other governmental agencies. In addition, they must contain and maintain:
- Proper medical measures, such as hearing conservation procedures
- Proper safety measures, such as lockout mechanisms, which prevent the unintentional activation of equipment during maintenance
- Better sanitation measures, which can reduce or eliminate the risk of infection
- Proper protection for and from hazardous equipment
- Maintenance of surfaces, as maintaining surfaces can minimalize the likelihood of slips and falls
Filing for workers’ compensation if you’re hurt at work
If you sustain injuries or develop a chronic illness related to your work, you can apply for workers’ compensation. In order to be deemed eligible, you must be an employee of the plant, and your injury must have occurred in relation to your job duties. For example, if you slip on the floor and break your elbow, you can file for workers’ compensation. If you are in a car accident while you are on your unpaid lunch, however, then you cannot file for workers’ comp.
If your injuries are the result of a negligent third-party – like a site visitor, or an intoxicated coworker – or a defective product or piece of machinery, then you may need to file a third-party personal injury claims instead. The same is true if you are a contractor or non-employee, or if your injuries are so severe that workers’ compensation cannot adequately cover them. An attorney from Cunningham & Mears can explain the differences to you, and help you choose the right path for you.
Chicken is delicious, but the process of getting it from farm to table can be dangerous. If you were hurt while working in poultry processing plant, Cunningham & Mears wants to help. Call our Oklahoma City workplace injury lawyers at 405-232-1212, or use our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.