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

Task 5: Trimmer

Trimmer Trimming is usually the last processing step before packaging or quick freezing. Trim lines often produce specialty products according to customer specification. Trimmers remove pieces of bone, fat, tendons, gristle, or blemishes in the meat as well as perform specialty cutting to produce tenders and nuggets. Many of the items, such as bone and fat, that are easily grasped can be pulled away from the meat using only the fingers. Although a knife can be used, for the majority of these operations the tool of choice is usually scissors.

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 jaws, which can stress tendons, increasing the risk of tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel. Contact trauma to the sides to 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. A cut proof glove should be used on non-cutting hand.
  • Provide spring activated scissors; these scissors open automatically after each cutting motion.
  • Rotate to those tasks that do not require scissor use.
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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 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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Hazardous Situation:
Employees repeatedly reach to a conveyor or shelf to obtain parts for trimming and reach to place finished product in tubs or receptacles. Repetitive reaching stresses the shoulder and upper back.
Possible Solutions:
  • Use diverter bars to push the product closer to the employee.
  • Reduce width of the work area so the product is presented closer to the employee.
  • Position cones and other work fixtures so all activities of the task can be performed with the elbows in close to the torso.
  • Provide height-adjustable stands, where appropriate, to place employee in proper orientation to the work surface.
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