OSHA Hazard Information Bulletins
Electric Hog Stunning Devices

October 24, 1990




  • Director
  • Directorate of Technical Support


  • Hazard Information Bulletin - Electric Hog Stunning Devices

The Directorate of Technical Support issues Hazard Information Bulletins (HIBs) in accordance with OSHA Instruction CPL 2.65 to provide relevant information regarding unrecognized or misunderstood safety and health hazards, inadequacies of materials, devices, techniques, and engineering controls. HIBs are initiated based on information provided by the field staff, studies, reports and concerns expressed by safety and health professionals, employers, and the public. Information is compiled based on a comprehensive evaluation of available facts and literature, and in coordination with appropriate parties. HIBs do not necessarily reflect OSHA policy.

The Kansas City Regional Office brought to our attention that the Division of Labor Services, State of Iowa, cited a meat packing company for using electric hog stunning devices which were not approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. The State of Iowa requested information regarding abatement methods.

We have contacted the nationally recognized testing laboratories: Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc.; Factory Mutual Research Corporation; MET Electrical Testing Company, Inc.; Dash, Straus and Goodhue, Inc.; and ETL Testing Laboratories, Inc. for information regarding the approval of electric stunning devices. None has done any testing on electrical hog stunners.

OSHA's electrical standards provide that electrical equipment, such as electric stunners, are acceptable only if approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

The hazards of electric stunning devices are electrical shock, burns, and electrocution. The Hog Dressing Safety and Health Guide of the Industrial Accident Prevention Association of Ontario, Canada recommends the following control measures to make electric stunning a safer process:

  • Train the operator in the proper and safe use of stunners.
  • Regular inspection and maintenance of equipment by trained, qualified electrician.
  • Use only approved and grounded stunners.
  • Operators should wear rubber-soled safety boots and rubber gloves.
  • Work areas should be kept as dry as possible.
  • Individual(s) in the immediate area should be trained in recognizing and providing first aid to electric shock victims.
  • An on-off control switch should be readily accessible to the operator and others in the immediate area.
  • Provide and use safe, secure storage for stunners when not in use.

Compliance and consultation personnel should be aware of the hazards of electric hog stunners and that the electric hog stunning devices should be approved as stated in 29 CFR 1910.399.

Please distribute this bulletin to all Area Offices, State Plan States and Consultation Projects.