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Workers' injuries: 17 amputations at Tyson Foods in 9 months

Workers in meat processing plants nationwide, including here in Missouri, are exposed to too many amputation hazards. This is the opinion of a professor of occupational health who requested the details of federal injury reports for Tyson Foods -- one of the largest processors and marketers of beef, chicken and pork in the world. She said that an average of two workers per month suffered workers' injuries that led to amputations starting in 2015, and she requested information about such injuries from January through September of 2015.

The information revealed that 17 workers suffered amputation injuries during those nine months. This included an impeller causing the loss of a worker's fingertip, a worker losing three fingers when he worked with a skinner and one employee at the company's Missouri plant who lost both his hands when he became entangled in an auger. All these injuries were possibly caused by unguarded working parts of machines.

The professor emphasized the fact that these injuries did not include those that occurred in the 10 states that have their own Occupational Safety and Health Administration programs. Nor does it include any injuries suffered at other meat processing companies. It was also mentioned that, despite the OSHA rules that all amputation injuries and hospitalizations must be reported within 24 hours, it is believed that about 70 percent typically under report injuries in the meat processing industry.

If safeguards that protect workers from moving machine parts are not present, employees may continue to suffer workers' injuries that can potentially cause temporary or permanent disabilities. Although money cannot replace lost limbs, amputation victims in Missouri may pursue financial relief by filing workers' compensation benefits claims. The insurance program typically covers medical expenses and a percentage of lost income, and additional compensation may be awarded to those who suffer disabilities as the result of workplace accidents.

Source: newser.com, "Tyson Foods Factories Saw Nearly 2 Worker Amputations Per Month", Michael Harthorne, Feb. 19, 2016

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