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New York Food Workers Suffer Workplace Accidents at a Surprising Rate

It turns out that nearly half of the workers at New York City’s food plants have been injured workplace accidents. The study, conducted by the Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project and released June 24, reported that 42 percent of workers who prepare and pack food products said they were hurt on the job.

Fifteen percent of the respondents said they slipped and fell. Fourteen percent were cut, and 10 percent experienced back injuries.

More than 10 percent of the workers said that an employer had ordered them to perform a task that was dangerous and risked an accident, according to the study.

New York City has more than 500 food manufacturers. There were 13 fatalities at the food factories in the city between 2001 and 2011, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A majority of the workers surveyed said they received no safety training from their employers or instructions on how to perform their jobs to reduce the risk of a workplace accident. More than half said they worked while sick. The average wage of the workers surveyed is $10.48 per hour.

Most of the workers in New York’s food factories are immigrants from Latin America and Asia. These factories employ more than 14,000 workers across the city, generating $5 billion annually.

Advocates for workplace safety and immigrants have called upon the City of New York to take public comment before making loans to food industry employers .

Nearly three-quarters of the workers surveyed for Tuesday’s report said they didn’t receive job training from their employer. Some 55% said they worked while sick in the past year. The average wage of surveyed workers was $10.48 an hour.

Source: New York Daily News, “Survey: Nearly half of the city’s food manufacturing workers have been injured on the job,” Jun. 24, 2014.