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Setting Guidelines For The Meat Packing Industry.

963 words - 4 pages

Setting Guidelines for the Meat Packing IndustryAmericans consume large amounts of meat. Therefore, workers in the meat packing industry have to work fast and under pressure, which contributes to the industry being adangerous place for its employees. The owners of the meat packing industry contend that in order to make a profit its production must be fast and believe that this can be done safely. In "Meatpacking Industry Hurts Workers," numerous statistics including that the "rate of cumulative traumatic injuries in meatpacking is 33 times the national average" are given to support the claim that meat packing is the most dangerous job in America. These statistics sustain that some changes are necessary to protect the welfare of its workers. Because meat packers work in a dangerous environment, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration should set stricter guidelines for the meat packing industry.In recent years the industry has changed where workers no longer perform an array of tasks, but now unskilled workers are asked to do one task all day. This repetitive motion has led to many new injuries among workers. In "The Labour Process and Workplace Injuries in the Canadian Meat Packing Industry," J. Novek states that "the greatest increase in injuries in the meat industry occurred in the categories of upper limb repetitive stains and inflammation." Another injury that results from this repetitive motion is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which causes weakness, pain, and other disturbances in the hand. Due to the monotony of the task workers often become careless and unfocused causing lacerations, amputations and other accidents. To lessen these injuries, OSHA needs to set guidelines to limit the amount of time a worker can perform the same task. OSHA can also set guidelines for mandatory breaks when workers areperforming single tasks.In order to increase productivity, unskilled laborers are put on a production line to perform a single task over and over again at an increasingly fast pace. These demands put a lot of pressure and strain on the workers. Eric Schlosser writes in Fast Food Nation that"slaughterhouse workers make a knife cut every two or three seconds, which adds up to about 10,000 cuts during an eight hour shift" (173). This extremely fast pace increases the likelihood of an accident by a knife cut. In order to keep up with the fast flow of the assembly line the workers are unable to stop and sharpen their dull knives. Dull knives obviously result in the worker having to put more the pressure on their bodies. Schlosser writes, "additional pressure isplaced on the worker's tendons, joints, and nerves"(173). To alleviate the number of injuriescaused by the fast pace, OSHA must regulate the pace of output in the meat packing industry.Not only does the workers' have to keep up the fast pace and the monotony of the job, the environment of the meat packing...

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