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Carpal tunnel prevalent injury in poultry processing

Not all worker injuries are the result of one specific incident. For many who suffer the injury of carpal tunnel in the state of North Carolina, the process of developing the condition takes time. One of the industries in which this condition is common is poultry processing.

Workers employed at a poultry plant will likely participate in the following activities: eviscerating, deboning and cutting apart chickens. Completing those actions over and over again could ultimately lead to the development of the repetitive stress injury. Presumably, the faster each step is performed, the more times each worker would have to complete each motion. This is relevant since the United States Department of Agriculture is contemplating speeding up the process.

The faster slaughter process would be the result of the USDA changing the way in which poultry are inspected. That change would place the focus on dangers to those who consume the food, such as bacteria. As an added benefit the process would be sped up and businesses would likely make more money.

A study on the matter was recently completed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Though it focused on only one poultry processing plant, its results were significant. After two visits to the facility last year, it found that 42 percent had signs of carpal tunnel such as numbness, burning, tingling or pain in their wrist or hand. For some it is so bad that it awakens them from sleep.

Despite the study results the inspection change appears poised to go into effect. How it will ultimately affect the workers remains to be seen.

Source: Huffington Post, “Poultry Worker Study Finds Alarming Rate Of Carpal Tunnel As USDA Considers Line Speedup,” Dave Jamieson, June 5, 2013

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