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Meat Cutter Hazards in Meat Markets and Departments

Man in red apron lifting a box of meat over his head onto the top shelf of a rack

Heaviest boxes belong on mid-level shelves to minimize risk for back and shoulder strain injuries.

Meat cutters working in grocery store meat departments or independent meat markets (butcher shops) perform tasks that put them at risk for injuries due to cutting tools and machinery, high-force or repetitive motions, heavy boxes, slippery floors, and other potentially hazardous conditions.

Fortunately, you can use the information on this topic page to help identify and address these and other potential hazards in your workplace.


Grey meat-cutting bandsaw
Meat-cutting bandsaw. Courtesy of Grizzly Industrial, Inc.


Hazard alerts


Accident prevention



Faucet with 2 yellow eye washers with chained caps on them illustrating a proper eye washing station
In addition to PPE use, emergency washing facilities, including eyewashes, are required to minimize injury to eyes and skin should accidental contact with chemicals that are corrosive, strong irritants, or toxic occur.


Machine safety

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Slips and falls

Sprains and strains (ergonomics)

DVDs and videos

Other resources

Meat Grinder sample showing removable tub, on/off switch, and grinder housing.
Meat grinder. Courtesy of NIOSH Face Program.

General safety program development

Knives, slicers, and other blades

Machinery safety

Strains and sprains (ergonomics)

Slips and falls

Meat grinder sample showing removable tub, on/off switch, and grinder housing
Wrapping meat trays. Courtesy of Canadian Centre For Occupational Health and Safety.

Related topics

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"Links" to other information sources are provided as a courtesy, but we cannot vouch for or take responsibility for information contained beyond files administered by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Links from this page do not represent or imply the endorsement of commercial products by the State of Washington, Labor and Industries, or by departmental staff. For more information, read L&I's Intended Usage policy.

More help from L&I

For general information, call 1-800-423-7233.

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