Poultry Processing

Hazards and Solutions

Avian Flu
Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Poultry Processing
Ergonomics/Musculoskeletal Disorders
Evacuation/Fire Safety/Hazardous Waste/Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Means of Egress: OSHA standards that require that exit doors are not blocked and not locked while employees are in the building. Employees must be able to open an exit route door from the inside at all times without keys, tools or special knowledge
  • Evacuation Plans and Procedures. OSHA eTool. Assists businesses to implement an emergency action plan, and to comply with OSHA's emergency standards.
  • Fire Safety. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
    • Workplace Fire Safety in OSHA's Poultry Processing Industry eTool.
    • Exit routes must be free and unobstructed. No materials or equipment may be placed, either permanently or temporarily, within the exit route. The exit access must not go through a room that can be locked, such as a bathroom, to reach an exit or exit discharge, nor may it lead into a dead-end corridor. Stairs or a ramp must be provided where the exit route is not substantially level.
  • Hazardous Waste. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
Hazardous Chemicals
  • Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
  • Hazard Communication. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
  • OSHA Standards for Air Contaminants: 1910.1000 Table Z-1
  • Poultry Industry Workers. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic. Includes information about excessive chlorine concentration from chlorinated wash and chiller bath water.
  • Specific chemical hazards are included in the OSHA Poultry Processing Industry eTool. Some examples of chemicals that may be present in poultry processing plants include:
    • Ammonia – may be used in poultry processing plants for refrigeration. Ammonia may cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Additional information is available on the OSHA Ammonia Refrigeration Safety and Health Topic Page.
    • Chlorine – a disinfectant that is sometimes added to water for washing birds. May cause respiratory irritation and breathing difficulties. Find additional information on chlorine on the NIOSH Workplace Safety & Health Topics page.
    • Carbon dioxide – in the form of dry ice, it is used to keep meat cold. Inhaling carbon dioxide can cause an increase in the breathing rate, which can progress to shortness of breath, dizziness and vomiting.
    • Hydrogen peroxide – sometimes used as disinfectants. These chemicals may cause eye, nose and respiratory irritation. Find information on hydrogen peroxide on the NIOSH Workplace Safety & Health Topics page.
    • Peracetic acid – may be used as a disinfectant in some poultry processing plants and has been associated with respiratory irritation.
  • Chemical that may be used or may accumulate within a confined space can result in a hazardous atmosphere for certain poultry workers, which is explained further in OSHA’s Poultry Processing Industry eTool page on confined spaces.
Hispanic Resources
  • Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout). OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page. Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal or other sources in machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy could cause injury to employees.
  • Lockout-Tagout Interactive Training Program. OSHA eTool.
Machine Guarding
Personal Protective Equipment
  • Interpretation of the Personal Protective Equipment standard. OSHA Letter of Interpretation, (July 3, 1995).
  • Sharp knives and utensils in the workplace. OSHA Letter of Interpretation, (December 10, 1991).
  • Personal Protective Equipment. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page. PPE is worn to minimize exposure to serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.
Process Safety Management
  • Process Safety Management. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page. Poultry processing facilities require refrigerated process areas and warehouses to preserve chicken meat. Facilities with refrigeration systems should develop safety management systems for the identification and control of hazards. If the refrigeration system contains greater than 10,000 pound of anhydrous ammonia, the safety management system must conform to the requirements of OSHA’s Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM) standard, 29 CFR 1910.119.
  • Ammonia Refrigeration. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page. Safety management systems should address design, operation, and maintenance of refrigeration systems to ensure leaks and releases do not occur. PSM covered facilities must also develop emergency procedures for proper response if leaks were to occur. For addition assistance please view our Ammonia Refrigeration eTool page. Facilities not regulated by PSM should also prepare for emergencies and, if response is required, the facility must plan in accordance with OSHA's Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard, 29 CFR 1910.120(q).
Respiratory Protection
Walking/Working Surfaces