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New Bill Protects Poultry Workers

by 5m Editor
30 May 2008, at 8:54a.m.

US - An influential North Carolina lawmaker has introduced legislation aimed at better protecting the state's poultry workers by keeping closer tabs on their employers.

According to the News Observer, the bill would give state health officials the authority to inspect poultry plants and would require large plants to hire or contract with licensed medical workers. It was introduced this week in response to a Charlotte Observer series about working conditions in the poultry industry -- and to Gov. Mike Easley's subsequent call for reform.

The legislation would also provide $350,000 more each year for the state Department of Health and Human Services -- money that Easley had requested to hire two occupational health nurses and two industrial hygienists to regularly inspect plants. Sen. Dan Clodfelter, a Charlotte Democrat and a Senate leader, introduced the bill.

"The governor asked Sen. Clodfelter to introduce this measure because we must ensure that workers are treated with basic dignity," said Alan Hirsch, the governor's policy director.

Under a plan detailed by Easley this month, the new inspectors would review records, conduct interviews and examine workers to determine whether companies are properly treating injured workers and recording all injuries.

View the News Observer story by clicking here.

5m Editor