Grave Yard Shift Workers Ground Up

One of Americas Most Dangerous Jobs.

Benny Agosto, Jr., one of America’s Top Latino Lawyers, had a case featured in Bloomberg Businessweek. Hugo Avalos-Chanon is just one example of the injuries that occur in the meat packing industry. Mr. Avalos-Chanon was a 41-year-old sanitation worker, mortally injured while cleaning a hamburger blender at Interstate Meat Distributors Inc. in Clackamas, Oregon. His widow brought a wrongful death suit against Interstate. The equipment he cleaned lacked safety guards, and workers were regularly required to clean the equipment while it was running, according to the court filings. Investigators believe his hose was caught in the machine’s paddles, ultimately pulling him through the equipment.

Nationwide, poultry and red meat production is expected to hit record highs at 103 billion pounds in 2018. Workers in the meat packing industry are struggling to keep up with demand, working later and later into the night. In many situations, sanitation workers are unable to start work until late into the night, and with workers so pressed for time it can create a temptation for shortcuts. David Greer, a former chicken plant manager, says if you were cleaning with five people, you are still cleaning with five people, and few plants have increased cleaning crew sizes to match the decrease in cleaning time or increase in output.

Often sanitation workers face some of the harshest conditions in any industry, however there appears to be little outcry as most are immigrants hidden in the graveyard shift. The North American Meat Institute claims that OSHA data shows sanitation workers are injured at a lower rate than meatpackers and that industry wide injuries are at an all-time low. Although, the data can be misleading due to OSHA currently not requiring plants to report contractors’ injuries. Further, sanitation workers are given multiple job codes so the number of actual injuries reported can further skew the data.

Another factor increasing the danger in the industry is the aggressive demand for profits by managers and executives. Former head of OSHA, David Michaels, believes there is a common problem among corporations in the industry, who push workers to go always faster due to an ever increasing demand to produce profits within highly leveraged corporations.

Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 68 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. If your life has been impacted by an industrial accident, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.