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

Task 2b: Manual Back Dock Worker

Manual Back Dock Worker
Some facilities still use smaller catch-cages holding 10 to 12 birds each that are normally emptied manually by the back dock worker. Stacks of cages are moved from the truck to the  dock area by forklift. Workers then manually lift and remove cages from stacks and empty poultry out of cages. Birds are transported by conveyor from this station to the live hang area.

Hazards of this task may include:

Lifting, bending, and reaching
Hazardous Situation:
The worker must manually remove cages from stacks, and lift and tilt them to empty chickens from cages. The lifting, bending, and reaching causes stress to the back and shoulders.
Possible Solutions:
  • Install automatic dumper system.
  • Train workers how to lift properly to reduce injury.
  • Provide two persons to lift each cage.
  • Rotate employees to job with non-lifting task.
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Disease exposure
Hazardous Situation: 
As birds are dumped, feather dander and fecal debris may become airborne and inhaled by employees. Diseases associated with handling live chickens and contact with poultry feces and dust include allergic alveolitis, cryptosporadiosis, histoplasmosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, psittacosis, and Newcastle disease.
Possible Solutions:
  • Provide back fan ventilation that moves dust and debris away from employees.
  • Provide workers with dust respirators and gloves.
  • Provide facilities for employees to clean up before eating.
  • Train workers to follow prescribed hand washing procedures.
  • Follow good housekeeping procedures.
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