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Poultry Processing Industry eTool
Plant-Wide Hazards
Receiving and Killing
Cutting and Deboning

Task 6: Wing Cutter

Wing Cutter Wing cutters use knives to cut the wings from the bird. This may be a multi-step process where several workers along the line each perform one of the necessary cuts, or all cuts can be done by a single operator.

Hazards of this task may include:

Ergonomic hazards from use of knives
Hazardous Situation:
Workers use a knife to cut the wings away from the rest of the carcass. The cutting motion may entail some bending of the wrist. Factors such as poorly fitting gloves, slick handles, inappropriately sized handles, or dull knives increase the force that must be used. Finger force and bending of the wrist are recognized risk factors for the development of many hand injuries. Minimize these factors when performing cutting tasks.
Possible Solutions:
  • Keep knives sharp and in good condition.
  • Remove damaged knives from service.
  • Use knives appropriate for the task.
  • Keep the wrist as straight as possible during the cutting task.
  • Provide properly sized gloves.
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Cuts and lacerations
Hazardous Situation:
Employees are performing highly repetitive tasks using knives close to other employees. Cuts and lacerations are possible to the employee and those standing nearby because employees are exposed to sharp knife blades. Any cut not treated at once will normally become infected as a result of working with poultry.
Possible Solutions:
  • Allow sufficient room for each employee on the line.
  • Use mesh glove on non-cutting hand.
  • Maintain sharp blades.
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Hazardous Situation:
Employees repeatedly reach to the bird on the cone to perform cutting tasks and may need to reach to a bin or a tub to deposit removed item. Repetitive reaching stresses the shoulder and upper back.
Possible Solutions:
  • Position cones and other work fixtures so all activities of the task can be performed in front of the employee with the elbows in close to the torso.
  • Provide height-adjustable stands so employees are in proper orientation to their work area.
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Standing for a long time
Hazardous Situation:
Standing for a long time reduces blood flow to the legs, forces isolated muscles to work for an extended time, and increases risk of fatigue and varicose veins.
Possible Solutions:
  • Install sit/stand stools, which allow employees to lean and have their weight supported while still remaining in an upright posture.
  • Rotate to tasks that do not require prolonged standing.
  • Provide shoe insoles that cushion the feet and spread foot pressure over a larger surface.
  • Provide a foot rest in front of employees so they can shift their posture.
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