While we have talked a lot about how modern office jobs are causing significant damage and pain that just weren’t present in Colorado’s workforce before, this type of pain and physical injuries are showing up in more than just the office. Take, for example, the poultry industry. Individuals who work on the line processing, slaughtering and otherwise handling poultry are dealing with high rates of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently completed a study of plant workers at a single poultry plant out of state. Although it was only a single plant, there is nothing to indicate that similar rates of injury and carpal tunnel syndrome wouldn’t be present in Colorado’s meat-processing plants.
In the study, it was determined that 40 percent of workers hand carpal tunnel syndrome. In addition, nearly 67 percent of workers noted some kind of numbness, pain, burning or tingling in their wrists and hands, all of which are symptomatic of carpal tunnel syndrome. What is worse is that two-thirds of those workers were in such pain that they were not able to sleep through the night.
Unfortunately for plant workers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has previously promised to make the poultry-processing process faster. While the USDA has said that it would only target the slaughtering process, not deboning and other components of meat processing, it will necessarily create more work for the already taxed workers. It would not be surprising if many of these workers became unable to continue working because of extreme pain and needed to take time off to recover.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Poultry Worker Study Finds Alarming Rate Of Carpal Tunnel As USDA Considers Line Speedup,” Dave Jamieson, June 5, 2013