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

Task 3: Scale Operator

A scale operator pulls filled boxes from a conveyor and places them onto scales. The operator then adds or removes product until the desired weight is achieved. This employee usually affixes a label showing the box weight before placing the weighed box back on the conveyor.

Hazards of this task may include:

Lifting heavy loads
Hazardous Situation:
Employees may experience back strain from reaching, twisting, and bending if the task requires them to lift boxes, which may weigh 40-80 pounds, from the conveyor to the scales.
Possible Solutions:
  • Whenever possible, replace manual operations with automated operations. For example, install conveyors to transport boxes to scales.
  • Reduce the amount of weight to be lifted. If containers must be lifted by employees, reduce the amount each container weighs.
  • Establish a workplace ergonomic program that teaches employees to avoid using awkward postures such as twisting and bending while lifting.
  • Provide mechanical lifting devices if boxes must be lifted from the conveyor to a scale.
  • Incorporate scales into the conveyor so boxes do not need to be lifted.
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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 employee 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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