Sitting down to a supper of chicken or beef might not cause many people in Illinois to wonder about the conditions in which the animal was killed. For the employees of slaughterhouses, however, it may be impossible to avoid doing so. Job injuries occur at an alarmingly high rate in this industry, and they are not necessarily all the result of industrial accidents. Instead, repetitive actions and an environment that focuses on the end result -- not the employee -- puts workers in dangerous positions.
A former official from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration believes that part of the problem is the very model on which the meat business is built. In order to produce a higher quantity that yields higher profits, worker safety must be sacrificed. Data from OSHA in 2014 demonstrated that processing employees who work with pork and beef experience injuries from repetitive motions at a rate of seven times higher than other industries. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that in one processing plant alone, over 75 percent of employees suffered from the same abnormal nerve condition in one or both hands.