The rising demand for an economical and healthy supply of meat and eggs has resulted in the poultry industry’s exponential growth. Due to emerging industrial farming and intensification of farm operations, the poultry industry has developed worldwide.
A variety of local and regional environmental effects are associated with poultry farming systems. Farmworkers are typically at a higher risk, especially the new and untrained ones.
Health risks can be accidental, physical, chemical, and biological in the poultry industry.
- Farmers might get sprains and strains due to slip and fall while carrying heavy loads.
- Eye and skin irritation resulting from contact with disinfectants, vaccines, and medicines.
- Burns from exposure to hot surfaces such as beak-trimmers.
Heat stress, heat exhaustion, elevated noise levels, and heat-induced dermatosis are few physical dangers present.
Odor emissions have a crucial effect on the atmosphere and the health of poultry employees due to the release of gases like ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), along with some volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Frequent reports of odor nuisance along with health problems, including headache, eye pain, nose and mouth, and drowsiness, have been associated with confinement areas with high concentrations of poultry or other animals. Some other examples include:
- Exposure to high levels of noise.
- Long-time appearance in heat and cold due to outdoor work.
- Musculoskeletal problems result from lifting and moving of animals, feed bins (bags), egg collection.
Chemical hazards result in acute and chronic respiratory diseases because of poultry dust contamination, skin and eye diseases. These diseases can happen due to exposure to toxic gases originating from manure processing operations and exposure to detergents, pesticides, and disinfectants.
Adverse environmental and health effects are often related to waste, litter, feathers, fragments, and animal skin. Some examples include:
- Respiratory, skin, and eye diseases due to exposure to gases including NH3, CO2, CO, and CH4.
- Exposure to disinfectants, detergents, formaldehyde, and pesticides.
- Zoonotic diseases are transferred from animals to humans and include bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections. Salmonellosis, tuberculosis, Newcastle Disease, and avian influenza are amongst the most common zoonotic diseases transmitted from poultry to humans. Poultry workers are at a higher risk of being affected by these diseases.
- Resistant bacterias.
- Employees are at risk of being exposed to biological hazards associated with handling live birds or exposures to poultry feces and dust that increases the risk for some diseases.
Poor working conditions also contribute to risks associated with poultry farming. They are listed below:
- Heavy Lifting
- Sullied Work Conditions
- Long Hours
- Inadequate Training and Equipment
- Underreporting of Injuries
Prevention of Hazards
Proper management is needed to avoid injuries and to keep the workers motivated. An effective prevention and control program helps for safe and apt work that everyone can understand and follow.
In all cases, however, safety comes first. And following are the measures which one must take while working:-
- Personal Protective Equipment
Also known as PPE. PPE should be supplied in a variety of sizes to suit the physical requirements of workers. Extreme postures and excessive forces are eluded by using PPE.
- One should guard the dangerous equipment on the farm.
- Engineering controls, such as improving sanitation and ventilation measures, should be taken to protect workers from biological hazards. These can cause salmonella, psittacosis, campylobacter infection, and other diseases.
- To avoid slips and falls, the work surfaces need to be maintained.
- The training of employees plays a crucial role in reducing such incidents. Training and education aim to ensure that employees are sufficiently informed about the hazards around them.
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