Law Office of Leslie S. Shaw, A.P.C. - Workers' Compensation

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Workplace injuries common in food processing plants

Workers in food processing facilities in San Diego face a variety of hazards. Employers must protect them from suffering workplace injuries by establishing safety programs, engineering controls for all equipment, and emergency response programs. Also, appropriate personal protective equipment must be available for all employees, and safety programs must include housekeeping to prevent slip-and-fall accidents, ergonomics programs and adequate machine guarding.

The dangers faced by these workers include excessive noise levels, and the repetitive motions many jobs in this industry require can cause musculoskeletal disorders. Slippery conditions due to frequent wash downs of equipment pose fall hazards, and the constant dampness can cause hazardous molds to form. Workers are also exposed to chemicals like sanitizers, disinfectants, soaps and detergents, not to mention the deadly ammonia that is used as a refrigerant in food processing plants.

Machinery and equipment utilized in this industry pose serious risks, and if they are not equipped with the necessary machine guards to prevent contact with moving parts, workers can suffer amputation injuries. Proper lockout/tag-out devices are essential to avoid unanticipated machine activation during cleaning or maintenance and repair operations. Furthermore, biological hazards are posed by exposure to dust, feces and live birds.

There is a high prevalence of workplace injuries in the food processing industry, and employees might find comfort in knowing that the California workers’ compensation insurance program will have their backs. An experienced San Diego attorney can help injured workers to navigate the benefits claims process. Most workers are entitled to compensation for lost wages and medical expenses, and those who suffered debilitating injuries might receive additional benefits.