Like many others in this part of Georgia, you may work for Gold Kist Farms. The work you do exposes you to numerous hazards every day. There was a time when those risks appeared to be much higher. Between 2004 and 2013, research indicated that the number of injuries associated with working in the poultry industry declined.
However, in the last couple of years, the Government Accounting Office discovered that the instances of injuries and illnesses among those who work in the poultry industry may remain higher than the data indicates. In fact, they remain higher than the overall illness and injury rates seen in manufacturing.
The same hazards
Even though the number of injuries and illnesses appears to have declined, the following hazards still plague you and your co-workers:
- Chemical exposure
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Pathogen exposure
- Dangerous or defective machinery
- Dangerous or defective tools
You could suffer traumatic injuries or illnesses while at work. You could also suffer from injuries that develop over time and do not occur due to an accident. Issues such as carpal tunnel, repetitive stress disorders and respiratory issues, among other things, could develop over time as you work in the same facility over the years.
The same issues
The known injury and illness rates already put the numbers higher than other manufacturing jobs, but there is a problem. The prevailing supposition is that many injuries and illnesses go unreported. Companies may not report them all due to the potential costs associated with them.
Workers may not report them due to fear of losing their jobs. Looking at data for workers taking time off work for illnesses or injuries don’t account for those who work light or restricted duty or who move into another position. Due to these issues, the injury and illness rates may be higher than anyone realizes.
The same support
The fact is that you deserve the same benefits as anyone else who suffers an illness or injury while on the job. This means you could apply for workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical and medical-related expenses associated with your condition, along with a portion of your income while you recover. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to additional benefits. For instance, if your injuries prevent you from ever returning to your prior position, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation or disability payments.