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Increase in production could put workers at risk of carpal tunnel

Chicken is the protein of choice for many. It is an easy favorite for kids and a favorite among families because of its relatively low cost. The availability and low price of chicken comes at a different type of cost, however. The U.S. workers in poultry factories work hard to get the meat processed that so many of us purchase. And, according to a recent study, many of those workers are suffering from work-related injuries.

A work injury is often not what some might expect. No one has to fall off of a ladder or slip on the job in order for a medical problem to be work-related. Many people's desk or factory jobs involve repetitive motion using their hands. As a result, workers can develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can make work and other daily activities painful or otherwise difficult for a sufferer. Some people will have a numb or tingling sensation in their wrists and hands. Their sleep can be disrupted due to the symptoms. Their ability to do their jobs can also most definitely be diminished.

Just as the poultry industry is about to speed up the line process within U.S. factories, a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports its startling findings of a poultry factory and its workers' health. About 40 percent of the workers from the evaluated factory showed signs that they suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. If the process is sped up, work safety advocates worry that employees will suffer even more.

Not all cases of carpal tunnel syndrome are the same. Some conditions can get better and be effectively treated in order for a worker to comfortably get back to work. More severe conditions, however, can be tougher to fix, potentially making an injured worker eligible to get Social Security disability insurance benefits. An experienced SSDI or workers' compensation lawyer can best explain the legal options associated with a worker's repetitive stress injury.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Poultry Worker Study Finds Alarming Rate Of Carpal Tunnel As USDA Considers Line Speedup," Dave Jamieson, June 5, 2013

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