A news advertorial by Catie Norman
Australia is renowned for its meat industry which is worth tens of billions of dollars to the economy and supplies around 200,000 jobs across the country.
But there are inherent dangers and risks for those workers.
The meat industry has one of the highest rates for musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) as well as laceration injuries.
The work in meat factories is both heavy and repetitive, and injuries — which vary in severity and frequency — are indeed common.
At Shine Lawyers, the most prevalent injuries that we see in our clients are back and shoulder related caused by repetitive heavy lifting of carcasses, as well as the severe lacerations caused by undertaking knife and boning work.
Based on our extensive experience in representing meatworkers and packers, it is our opinion that many of the injuries that we see could have been entirely avoided or the extent of injury limited with adequate training and supervision of workers.
Also modifications to the equipment used or the systems of work adopted by employers would have reduced risks and the severity of injuries.
While Australia is renowned for producing top-quality meat, many of the workers in meat factories come from non-English speaking backgrounds or are migrant workers.
Due to this many do not know their rights when they are injured and are often reluctant to lodge claims even when severely injured.
Although the reasons vary why injured workers do not want to lodge claims, most come down to financial security.
They are told by their employers not to lodge claims and are concerned that if they do they will lose their job.
Migrant employees are also concerned that lodging a claim will impact on their visa, in particular on their application for permanent residency.
We would encourage those within the meat industry to contact Shine Lawyers as soon as an injury occurs. Shine Lawyers are experts in WorkCover claims so they are able to explain employee rights and address concerns around the process of lodging a claim.
Consulting a lawyer is completely confidential and their employer will not be made aware.
There is also no obligation to pursue a claim once they consult a lawyer however it will ensure they, at the very least, know their rights and potential entitlements.
Catie Norman is the Branch Manager of Shine Lawyers Sunshine.
Contact Shine Lawyers to schedule a free no-obligation consultation on 1800 860 461.