Minnesota regulators need to do a better job of targeting meatpacking companies for inspections, according to a report issued Wednesday. A legislative auditor’s study concluded that the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) does not have a complete list of all meatpacking plants that it checks for worker safety.
More than 12,000 Minnesota workers slaughter and process turkeys, hogs and cattle at the plants. Many jobs involve intense physical labor and repetitive work on a production line.
Like their counterparts in other states, the workers face higher injury rates than other manufacturing employees. Meatpacking injuries have declined nationally in recent years, the report said, but the state still inspects the industry more frequently than other businesses because of the risks.
The meatpacking plants generally have high worker turnover and employ large numbers of immigrant workers, according to the report. Some plants routinely experience turnover rates over 40 percent, it said, and the constant training of new workers creates safety challenges.