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

Task 3: Live Hang

Live Hang Employees lift live poultry from the supply conveyer and hang the birds by their feet from a shackle conveyor.

Hazards of this task may include:

Reaching to conveyor and shackles
Hazardous Situation: 
Ergonomic hazards of reaching down to access birds on supply conveyor and reaching up to hang them on the shackle conveyor can lead to shoulder, back, and neck strain because of awkward postures and repetitive motion. The employees at the beginning of the line often work faster than those near the end of the line causing fatigue. Workers stand for long periods of time.
Possible Solutions:
  • Minimize forward reaches by moving shackle conveyor towards employee.
  • Minimize vertical distance between shackles and belt conveyor to reduce lifting of the arms to reach shackle and bending down to reach supply conveyor.
  • Rotate employees up and down hanging line to vary the rate at which they perform the task.
  • Ramp shackle conveyor down toward the end of the line where there is less interference from birds on supply conveyor.
  • Provide height-adjustable stands for shorter employees.
  • Provide anti-fatigue mats.
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Disease exposure
Hazardous Situation:
Workers get covered with poultry mess and dust that can expose them to diseases associated with handling live chickens and contact with poultry feces and dust, such as allergic alveolitis, cryptosporidiosis, histoplasmosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, psittacosis, and Newcastle disease.
Possible Solutions:
  • Install adequate ventilation systems that would reduce exposure to aerosolized dust. Supply make-up air from behind employee and exhaust from far side of the conveyor.
  • Provide proper personal protective equipment and clothing.
  • 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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Poor lighting
Hazardous Situation:
It is difficult for workers to see when lighting is reduced to calm the chickens. This lack of illumination contributes to slips, falls and cuts, and makes inadequately guarded fans even more dangerous.
Possible Solutions:
  • Provide appropriate light for entry and exit.
  • Keep walkways clean and free of debris and obstacles.
  • Provide enough space between workers to avoid cuts.
  • Make sure all fans both for contamination control and comfort, that are mounted less than 7 feet above the working surface, are adequately guarded.
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Standing for a long time
Hazardous Situation:
Standing for a long time can cause pain and strains in the legs and lower back. Common types of footwear worn in this area (e.g. rubber boots) do not provide much arch support.
Possible Solutions:
  • Install sit/stand stools, which allow employees to lean and have their weight supported while still remaining in an upright posture.
  • Install height-adjustable stands so cuts can be performed at mid-chest level.
  • Rotate to tasks that do not require prolonged standing.
  • Provide shoe insoles that cushion the feet and spread foot pressure over a larger surface.
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