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Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, Harvest covers agriculture-related topics through a network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.

Study: Slaughterhouse Injuries Are Underreported

Brian Seifferlein
/
Harvest Public Media

A slaughterhouse is a safer place to work than it used to be, according to a government report. But it’s still dangerous work, and not all injuries are being counted

Injury rates in the meatpacking industry got better over the last decade but are probably worse than the data suggests. That’s the conclusion of a study from the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO says incidents at meat and poultry plants are underreported by workers who are afraid to lose their jobs, and by medical staff who send people back to work even when they’re hurt.

Celeste Monforton, who studies worker safety at George Washington University, says when injuries aren’t reported, they get worse.

"It has profound consequences for the workers," Monforton says. "Their injuries are exacerbated, some beyond repair."

The North American Meat Institute, which represents meat companies, said in a statement that the labor department has reviewed industry recordkeeping, and did not find it to be a widespread problem.

Harvest Public Media's reporter at NET News, where he started as Morning Edition host in 2008. He joined Harvest Public Media in July 2012. Grant has visited coal plants, dairy farms, horse tracks and hospitals to cover a variety of stories. Before going to Nebraska, Grant studied mass communication as a grad student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and completed his undergrad at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm in southwestern Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor, but has taken up city life in Lincoln, Neb.