Workplace Safety Human Rights Watch (Hrw) Recommendations Term Paper

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¶ … Workplace safety [...] Human Rights Watch (HRW) recommendations for worker safety in the meatpacking industry, and the viability of those recommendations. Meatpacking safety and cleanliness has come under fire since 1906 when Upton Sinclair wrote his classic novel "The Jungle," which highlighted unsafe practices in the meatpacking industry and helped the U.S. form the USDA inspection guidelines. It would seem that the modern meatpacking industry would be far removed from severe safety concerns, but that is not the case. There are still many problems in meatpacking plants, and many packers have disputed the Human Rights Watch findings, ensuring that meatpacking is still a dangerous and sometimes deadly occupation for many.

Safety is an issue and concern in many different industries. As one writer defines safety, "How much time and financial expenditure is 'enough' safety? And how is 'enough' defined? (In this article, the definition of 'safety' is 'an acceptable level of risk,' while the term 'safe' refers to 'without risk,' which can only be achieved in theory) (Eckhardt, 2001). Certainly, it is difficult, if not impossible for any employer to ensure 100% safety to their employees, and certain industries offer more risks than others do. One of these industries is the meatpacking industry, which has long been recognized as more dangerous to workers than many others. For this reason, HRW issued recommendations for upgrading safety in the meatpacking industry, after studies indicated that the industry might be ignoring some basic human rights of its employees.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Workplace Safety Human Rights Watch (Hrw) Recommendations Assignment

One of the issues many workers face in meatpacking is the speed of the meatpacking lines. Technologies have allowed the lines to move faster, forcing packing workers to move ever faster as well. One worker says of working on the line, "I hung the live birds on the line. Grab, reach, lift, jerk. Without stopping for hours every day... after a time, you see what happens" (Editors, 2005). Reducing line speeds for packing plants means reducing the number of animals they can process in an hour and a day, which means less profits for the plants. However, studies indicate that the line speeds are one of the factors in increased injuries, and so, the production line speeds should be reduced for safety reasons. They should also be reduced for health reasons. If a worker is spending so little time on the work, then it is clear some animals may not be processed correctly, which could lead to health problems for those people who eat the tainted meat. Thus, reducing line speeds could help prevent breakouts of e coli and other health risks, and so the recommendation is sound, both safety wise and health wise.

Another issue the recommendations tackled was the problem of fear among the employees, especially fears of reporting injuries due to retribution from management. Another report found, "Despite the accomplishments described in this report, workers continue to die from preventable injuries sustained on the job" (Anonymous, 1999). In addition, many employees interviewed before the HRW issued its recommendations said, "They love you if you're healthy and work like a dog, but if you get hurt you are trash. They will look for a way to get rid of you before they report it. They will find a reason to fire you, or put you on a worse job... Or change your shift so you quit. So a lot of people don't report their injuries" (Editors, 2005). Thus, the employees live in fear of losing their jobs, while they still fear injuries on the job.

It is clear there need to be stronger laws against underreporting injuries, and there need to be more ways to hold the meatpackers accountable. For example, one worker repeatedly went to the workplace clinic and was told he was not injured, and later was diagnosed with a herniated disk at a local hospital (Editors, 2005). There needs to be some kind of cross reporting through local hospitals and healthcare facilities, so that OSHA and local agencies have a full picture of injuries, as well as what is not being reported by the plants themselves. The HRW recommendation is a good one and needs to be followed.

Another recommendation that workers continually refer to is the anti-retaliation law. Another study into… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Workplace Safety Human Rights Watch (Hrw) Recommendations."  Essaytown.com.  December 13, 2006.  Accessed May 27, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/workplace-safety-human-rights-watch/4610094.