A grisly accident at a Baker Hill chicken processing plant on March 3, 2020, ended the life of a 39-year-old employee. The worker, who was actually on contract for another company that merely cleaned the equipment in the Keystone Foods plant, was decapitated after being caught in a “pinch-point” of a machine known as a chiller.

This accident is still under investigation, but it’s a sobering reminder that chicken processing plants are never really safe — even when they’re not fully in operation. The United States Department of Labor indicates that employees who work in meat processing plants get hurt five times more often than all other kinds of private employees.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, indicates the real injury toll inside meat processing plants is a lot higher. It’s estimated that 28% of the employees inside such plants are immigrants who are often too afraid of either being deported or being fired to report their injuries. According to both the Food Chain Workers Alliance and the Southern Poverty Law Center, about two-thirds of all employees inside poultry plants eventually get injured.

When you’re working around heavy-duty equipment that’s designed to cut through the muscles and bones of various kinds of poultry or animals, it only takes one moment of inattention, a little extra fatigue or a defective piece of machinery to lead to a devastating — or fatal — injury.

Workers’ compensation can’t always fairly compensate an injured worker or their family, especially when that worker is killed. You may have a right to look outside the workers’ comp system and seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Find out how an experienced attorney can help you better understand your rights.