Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued over 20 citations to Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the largest poultry processors in the country, for violations of health and safety standards.
Notably, OSHA took an important step to address the shoddy and dangerous medical treatment of poultry workers by citing Pilgrim’s Pride for failing to provide appropriate medical care and treatment.
Much too often, the injuries of meatpacking and poultry workers are routinely minimized and ignored in the service of obscuring true injury rates at plants. Untreated injuries result in greater risk of further injury, increased and debilitating pain, and an extended period of recovery time.
If injured workers are able to receive medical care and treatment from the plants at all, numerous reports and studies have documented that it is substandard and wholly insufficient. Workers often are given only ice and over-the-counter pills, while facing severe pressure to return to work as soon as possible instead of receiving appropriate treatment and recovery.
We hope that OSHA continues to engage in robust inspections of plants in order to address serious problems – like poor and improper medical assessment and treatment – and ensure that all people in meatpacking and poultry plants can work in a dignified, safe, and healthy workplace.