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Grim working conditions in packing plants cause many amputations

We all know that workplace accidents happen. Unlike a plane crash, these types of incidents tend to happen without any news coverage. While some can be dramatic, because they happen within a business, unless it is some spectacular explosion or fire, they usually are not judged worthy of most television stations or newspapers coverage. If a worker is killed, it may receive a one-paragraph treatment at the bottom of a back section of a paper, but rarely more.

Unfortunately, these accidents happen much more frequently than we would care to know, according to a new report. This report was produced with information gathered from a regulation from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that now requires a business to report injuries within 24 hours to OSHA.

A professor compiled a report from this data and found that workers in meat-packing plants suffered approximately one amputation per month based on data from the first nine months of 2015.

This new data is considered notable because it is recent. OSHA, like many other government agencies, relies on employers to report information, and this information is not audited, due to lack of resources. Much of OSHA's data is old and some experts suggest because of the self-reported nature, it is likely inaccurate, as businesses have a strong incentive to not report or under-report accidents.

Sadly, if we had a fully accurate picture of the true carnage that occurs in many workplaces, it would likely be even more frightening.

If you have been seriously injured on the job, however, immediate reporting is often essential to be eligible for workers' compensation insurance, and even if you think an injury is minor, creating a timely and accurate record of the injury is important should complications develop.

Source:, "Report: New OSHA Rule Reveals Slaughterhouse Worker Amputations," Peggy Lowe, February 11, 2016

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