“Poultry processors face few consequences when they ignore hazards that can kill and injure workers” begins a Charlotte Observer article in a series dealing with the dangers faced by poultry workers in North Carolina. The series of in-depth articles reveals the high price that is frequently paid by North Carolina poultry workers while the very people that are suppose to protect those worker’s seemingly turn a blind eye to their plight.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports safety in poultry plants is at a all time high despite the fact safety inspections are at an all time low, fines for serious violations have been decreased and OSHA has not fined a poultry processor for hazards likely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in over a decade. OSHA says the plants are safer and points to a decade of declining injury rates.
In reality, the injury statistics are not accurate because OSHA has made easier for companies to hide injuries. Many employers strongly discourage their employees from reporting injuries and OSHA’s lack of oversight makes it easier for this practice to continue. Many of the workers are Hispanic and are often intimidated into not bringing claims.