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New USDA Rules Could Lead to More Injuries for Poultry Slaughterhouse Employees

December 31, 2013

Because our Georgia workers' compensation attorneys at Montlick and Associates frequently represent injured employees in the poultry industry, we recognize that workers in poultry processing plants frequently suffer repetitive motion injuries and other on-the-job injuries. Because workers in poultry plants are already exposed to a substantial risk of injury, we are concerned about the impact of new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations that may increase the prevalence of chicken slaughterhouse injuries.

The current regulations for poultry workers on conveyor lines require four inspectors on the line with a maximum number of chickens being processed on kill lines of 140 per minute. The proposed new rules would reduce the number of inspectors to only 3 per line while increasing the number of chickens on the lines to 175 per minute.

The proposed change may threaten both food safety and poultry workers because it amounts to a 25 percent reduction in the number of inspectors on a line while also resulting in a substantial increase in the speed of the lines. Since many injuries suffered in the chicken slaughterhouses outside of Atlanta are repetitive motion injuries like carpel tunnel, it is reasonable to expect that fewer people on the line processing more chickens per hour will increase the frequency of such injuries. It is also seems likely that the knives will be duller because they are making more cuts so workers will have to exert more force to cut through bone, gristle and meat which might increase the risk of suffering a repetitive motion injury.

While many working on kill lines in Georgia poultry factories suffer carpel tunnel, there are other types of injuries that might increase. The increased speed of the lines is likely to result in more puncture injuries which might be exacerbated by needing to exert greater pressure when working with cutting tools that are not as sharp. The rule changes also may promote other types of common poultry processing injuries, such as shoulder injuries and crush injuries. Since more chickens are being processed in a shorter period of time, this also might mean an increase in back and head injuries from slick floors.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years of Experience to Work For You!

If you are injured while working in a Georgia chicken slaughter plant, you may have a right to financial compensation for your work related injury. Our Atlanta worker's compensation attorneys represent injured poultry workers seeking workers' compensation benefits like medical care, partial wage replacement, disability benefits and other appropriate forms of relief. Our poultry industry workers' compensation lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing injured workers for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.