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Turkey factory workers argue they are at risk of serious injuries

During November and December, the demand for turkeys gets much higher in the United States thanks to Thanksgiving and Christmas. As families get together for the season, they want to have larger dinner parties and get togethers, meaning more and more of the birds have to be prepared for sale.

Workers who have to handle these meats claim that while reform has been promised, working in a factory is still dangerous and doesn't pay enough during the holidays to make it worth the hassle. This means that if you work in a factory processing turkeys and suffered and injury, you're likely focusing on a new line of work and on how to get the compensation you need. Line speeds may be extremely fast in these environments, and workers are standing in the same place all day; repetitive motion injuries can be a common occurrence.

One worker, a 26-year-old man, stated that he couldn't bend the fingers on his right hand, struggled to use the hand and right shoulder, and suffered from severe pain. He was expected to process around 55 turkeys every minute for at least an eight hour shift in many cases.

The truth is that there is around a 100 percent turnover rate in poultry plants because of the difficulty of the work and labor each year. The jobs aren't really designed for workers who want to have a long-lasting career; instead, they're short-lived and can end up causing significant impairments to those who suffer work-related injuries.

What are the most common injuries? A survey of 300 workers found that, of workers responsible for cutting the wings of the birds, 86 percent had suffered from or are suffering from numbness, wrist pain, swelling or other conditions. These injuries, while likely treatable in early stages, could lead to serious problems using the hands in the future.

Source: TakePart, "Workers Say Turkey Processing Jobs Are Thankless," Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, Nov. 26, 2015

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