The meatpacking industry, along with processing plants, provides food for much of the United States. Meat is plentiful even during times of recession, and many consumers do not spend much time thinking about all that goes into getting that meat on their table.

Those who work in the industry, though, understand all too well how much effort it takes. They work tirelessly to keep up with demand. It is a rigorous job, and injuries do happen. There are many risks.

In some cases, those risks are greater than outsiders would ever fathom. Take a recent story out of Alabama, for instance, where a man was cleaning chicken processing equipment. The plant was owned by Tyson, a major distributor. While cleaning, an accident meant that the man got caught in the machine, and he was decapitated. He was just 39 years old.

Most injuries are far more minor, but this story helps show workers all over the country, including Minnesota, just how high the risks are. They need to understand that working with heavy equipment and machinery that contains moving parts means that even a simple error can have dire ramifications.

In some cases, that error could be made by a co-worker or a supervisor, not even by the employee who gets injured. It could happen because the worker was never properly trained or given the right personal protection equipment. Cases are all unique, but you’ll find a serious amount of risk in each one.

Workers who get hurt on the job must know their legal rights. The same is true for the families of those who pass away from their injuries.