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Poultry Processing Industry eTool


Ergonomics is the science of fitting jobs to people. Ergonomics encompasses the body of knowledge about physical abilities and limitations that are relevant to job design. Ergonomics is often referred to as job design with the worker in mind.

When the physical requirements of a job or task exceed the physical capacity of workers, workers are at risk for injury. Workers are also at risk of injury when tools or work methods are improper or workstation layout is faulty. These injuries are called musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Approximately 50% of the injuries and illnesses in the poultry processing industry are MSDs, according to a 1997 OSHA survey.

In the poultry industry, workplace hazards that contribute to ergonomic injuries include:
The likelihood of injury from these hazards is increased because many tasks must be performed in cold environments or at workstations which limit and isolate movement.

Specific OSHA Requirements

Employers are required to maintain workplaces free of recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. Although Federal OSHA does not have a standard that specifically regulates ergonomic hazards, some states do. Employers in states with state-run safety and health plans should check with their state agency.

For additional information on control methods, refer to General Controls of Ergonomic Hazards.

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