Meat, poultry and fish

Main causes of injury

  • Being struck by hand tools including knives, especially during boning out etc
  • Manual handling and lifting - especially lifting heavy and awkward loads
  • Slips - mostly due to wet or greasy floors
  • Machinery - such as conveyors, bandsaws, derinders, skinning machines, pie and tart machines, packaging machinery
  • Transport - including fork lift trucks and vehicles at loading bays
  • Falls from height - off ladders, stairs, work platforms, plant and vehicles
  • Exposure to harmful substances and hot objects, eg splashes/vapour from cleaning chemicals

Main occupational ill health risks

  • Musculoskeletal injury from manual handling, eg lifting boxes of product
  • Work-related upper limb disorders (WRULDs) from repetitive work, eg from cutting, boning, jointing, trussing and evisceration
  • Noise induced hearing loss from noisy areas, eg powered saws, blast-freezers/chillers, bowl choppers, packing machinery
  • Infections from micro-organisms, eg Campylobactor in poultry processing
  • Occupational asthma from aerosol proteins in fish processing
  • Carcinogenic risk from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from smoking fish and meat products
  • Ill health from long term working at reduced temperatures

BMPA Health and Safety Committee

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) oversees an industry H&S committee which meets several times a year. The committee comprises:

  • BMPA
  • Major meat producers
  • Agricultural Horticultural Development Board
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Meat Training Council
  • National Federation of Meat and Food Traders
  • International Meat Trades Association
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Trade unions

The committee considers newly arising issues, writes guidance for the meat/slaughtering industries and communicates information to the industries. Current guidance can be found in BMPA's Health and Safety Guidance Notes for the Meat Industry.

Industry specific guidance

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Updated 2023-06-15