Workers' Compensation: Challenges Facing Georgia Poultry Workers


September 12, 2010

The Georgia Worker's Compensation System is designed to compensate workers who are injured in the course and scope of employment. Unfortunately, poultry workers have a high rate of work-related injuries, including many that may make it impossible to continue working in the industry.

Poultry processing workers are particularly vulnerable to repeated trauma disorders which may vary in severity from simple tendonitis in one's wrists and shoulders to carpal tunnel syndrome that can be so severe that it requires surgery.

Federal safety officials confirm that many poultry processing workers across Georgia have required carpal tunnel surgery, with about 5% of victims being permanently disabled. Sadly, a significant number of victims never report their injuries, seek medical treatment, or pursue their rights to compensation under the Georgia worker's compensation system. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we understand the risks of work-related injuries in the poultry processing industry and have been helping injured workers and their families for over 25 years.

While thousands of poultry workers have required surgery for carpal tunnel, it is difficult to know exactly how pervasive the problem is because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not track repeated trauma cases or injuries resulting from the use of knives, saws or other poultry processing machinery. Ironically, repetitive motion injuries have become the most prevalent type of work-related illness in the U.S., amounting to as many as 50% of all such illnesses or injuries. Employees in the poultry processing industry suffer more repetitive motion injuries than employees in any other occupation other than red meat processing.

Statistics give a better picture of just how serious the risk of injury is for poultry processing workers. The industry has been ranked as high as the 24th most hazardous occupation out of 697 ranked occupations, which is worse than coal mining or construction for work-related injuries. It has been estimated that one in three poultry workers experience extreme pain in their arms, wrists or shoulders with one in five suffering serious injuries. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, knows the enormous and debilitating impact of repetitive motion injuries in the poultry industry and we can help you with the legal and procedural complexities of the worker's compensation system.  We have a team of Attorneys whose practice is limited to handling worker's compensation cases.

Despite the epidemic of serious work-related injuries, many poultry industry employees are afraid of or are unsure how to seek compensation. A fair number of poultry employees are illegal immigrants with few job skills who speak little English. These employees often do not understand their rights and fear that it only takes a single call to immigration officials to have a labor dispute resolved quickly. Although it is illegal to punish a worker for filing a worker's compensation claim, the vulnerable nature of many of the employees keeps them from seeking relief or compensation for their work-related injuries. Unfortunately, many other employees report that they are discouraged from seeking medical treatment.  Yet workers are entitled to treament, lost wages and other benefits under Georgia's Worker's Compensation system, regardless of whether they are at fault.

At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we provide confidential advice to our clients regarding their right to assert a claim for a work-related injury. Our Georgia worker's compensation attorneys understand the challenges facing workers with work-related injuries in the poultry industry, as well as in other industries. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia including, but not limited to, Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller and rural towns in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com.  Not matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will come to visit you.


Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.