This page addresses the hazards in the poultry processing industry. This industry can be divided into two stages each with its own particular hazards. The first stage is the raising of live birds to the desired weight, delivery to the processing plant and preparing the live birds for slaughtering. The second stage is the slaughtering, processing, and packaging of the birds. Major hazards in the first stage are generally respiratory hazards resulting from exposure to organic dusts (litter, manure, dander) and ammonia. These are controlled using ventilation and personal protective equipment (PPE). Additional hazards include those associated with agricultural machinery, feed delivery systems, waste removal systems, and ergonomic hazards especially as birds are prepared for slaughtering. A potentially significant hazard is the presence of microbiologicals and endotoxins in the organic dusts. In the second stage, common elements in an effective safety and health program include control of ergonomic hazards to prevent cumulative trauma disorders, machine guarding and PPE to prevent cuts, care of walking/working surfaces to reduce trips and falls, design and maintenance of electrical systems, and lockout/tagout procedures to prevent accidental startup of machinery.
This section highlights OSHA standards and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to poultry processing.
Frequently Cited Standards
A listing of the most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA for Poultry Slaughtering and Processing Industry Group (SIC code 2015) is available.
Hazards and Solutions
Personal Protective Equipment
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