Report highlights fears among workers in the meat processing industry

Repetitive motion injuries, amputations and cuts continue to be common dangers that workers in the meat processing industry face, according to a Government Accountability Office report released this month. The GAO also found workers suffer respiratory illnesses from peracetic acid – an antimicrobial chemical – sprayed on meat in processing facilities. In addition, investigators from GAO identified a lack of bathroom access as a major concern among workers – one that workers were afraid to mention to federal labor inspectors at plants for fear of retribution from their employer. The report reviewed the government’s efforts – specifically the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) – to protect the health and safety of workers in the nation’s animal slaughtering and processing industry, one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S.

Approximately 72 workers were interviewed in Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska, North Carolina and Virginia. Workers in three of those states said they had suffered negative health effects, such as kidney problems, from delayed or denied bathroom breaks.

IowaWatch Connection Podcast: Health Impacts Of Widely-Used Pesticides Uncertain

From our friends at Iowa Watch: Iowa’s wide expanses of row-cropped fields produced roughly 2.5 billion bushels of corn and 554 million bushels of soybeans in 2015. And for many, those high yields are thanks in part to pesticides. But what impact, if any, do those chemicals have on our health? It’s a controversial topic and the answer is hard to pin down. In many cases, those we spoke with said the jury is still out.