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

Task 9: Trimmer/Clean-up

Employee obtains separated pieces of poultry from conveyor and uses scissors to trim excess skin, fat, and pieces of bone.

Hazards of this task may include:

Ergonomic hazards from use of scissors
Hazardous Situation:
Use of traditional scissors forces the fingers to repeatedly open and close the blade, which can stress tendons, increasing the risk of tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel. Contact trauma to sides of fingers can damage nerves, which can cause numbness and tingling in the tips of the fingers and thumb.
Possible Solutions:
  • Provide pneumatic scissors; these scissors can be activated by employees with little finger force and with the wrist in a neutral posture.
  • Provide spring activated scissors; these scissors open automatically after each cutting motion. 
  • Rotate workers to those tasks that do not require scissor use.
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Standing for a long time periods
Hazardous Situation:
Standing for a long time reduces blood flow to the legs and forces isolated muscles to work for extended periods of time 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 employees 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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Reaching hazard
Hazardous Situation:
Employees repeatedly reach to conveyor or shelf to obtain parts to be trimmed and reach to place finished parts in tubs or baskets. Repetitive reaching stresses the shoulder and upper back.
Possible Solutions:
  • Use diverter bars to push the product closer to the employee.
  • Reduce width of supply conveyor so the product is presented closer to the employee.
  • Position product and work fixtures so all activities of the task can be performed with the elbows in close to the torso.
  • Tilt work surface so product slides to the employee.
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