Cuts and Lacerations
and lacerations account for about 10% of injuries in the poultry
What are the causes of cuts and lacerations?
What steps can an employer take to analyze the worksite for
cut and laceration hazards?
of Knives and Scissors
such as cut-resistant gloves, are not provided by the employer,
or used by the employee.
gloves are not cut-proof. They offer much protection from
cuts, but do not completely eliminate the potential for cuts.
provided are cut-resistant, but the characteristics of the
gloves are not appropriate for the job (i.e., a regular size
glove where a gauntlet type glove should be used).
and scissors are not maintained in top condition.
and scissors are not kept sharp.
and scissors are of poor design, resulting in awkward grip
and/or hand position.
workstations are not adjustable, resulting in some employees
working in awkward positions.
storage of knives. View Slide
working too close together can result in cuts to adjacent
- Lighting is inadequate.
objects are held in the employee’s hand instead of on a stable,
hard cutting surface. View Slide
incentive programs encourage employees to work faster, often
at the expense of working safely.
need to maintain their focus on the task they are performing.
Distractions such as loud noises, music, and poor lighting
can divert the employee’s attention, increasing the risk for
cuts and lacerations.
guards are removed or missing.
- Adjustments are made while a machine is in operation.
is cleaned while in operation.
gloves can get caught in moving machinery and pull the employee's
hand into the machine.
What can employers and employees do to prevent cuts and lacerations?
- Perform regular
evaluations of the work environment to ensure PPE is provided,
maintained, and used properly, machine guarding is in place and properly
adjusted, and Lockout/Tagout procedures are developed and implemented.
- Investigate incidents.
- Investigate near-miss incidents.
- Implement a system for employees to notify management of hazards that might
result in cuts and lacerations.
- Keep knives sharp.
- Keep knives in good condition.
- Remove damaged knives from service.
- Use the appropriate knife.
- Use knives with a comfortable handle.
- Use an
angled handle-blade design to reduce awkward
- Keep scissors sharp.
- Remove damaged scissors from service.
- Use scissors with oversized cushioned grips and spring-action handles
to reduce fatigue and hand discomfort.
- Use offset
handles to reduce awkward wrist and arm positions.
an adequate supply of left-handed scissors for left-handed employees.
- Provide and use cut-resistant gloves.
- Maintain gloves in good condition.
- Remove damaged
gloves from service and replace them.
work surfaces are at an appropriate height for employees.
there is adequate workspace around each employee.
- Make sure machine
guards are in place, adjusted properly, and used.
- Replace guards
that have been removed for adjustments, repair, or cleaning, before the machine is started.
- Use PPE when guards are removed for cleaning, repairing,
and adjusting machinery.
- Lock out and/or block out all
sources of energy before
any adjustment, repair, or cleaning is conducted on machinery.
- Use PPE when guards are removed for cleaning, repair,
and adjusting machinery.
OSHA Requirements for the prevention of cuts and lacerations are
contained primarily in 29 CFR 1910 Subparts I, J, and O.
The general requirement that tools and equipment must be in a safe
condition is contained in 29
CFR 1910.242, Hand and portable powered tools and equipment, general.
Additional explanation of the OSHA requirements for the control of hazardous energy and for the use of
hand and portable powered
tools can be found in OSHA's Small
Business Handbook (OSHA Publication 2209-02R). Also available as a 260
Employers in states with state-run safety and health plans should
check with their state
agency. Their state may enforce standards
that, while "as effective as federal standards," may not be identical
to the federal requirements.
Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at 202-693-2300
for assistance accessing PDF materials.