New safe-loading step catching on with poultry crews
Catching crews on poultry farms have made do for years when they needed an extra step loading full crates from the barn onto transport trucks. Using the tools at hand, they improvised and turned empty crates on end to get where they needed to be. But there are two big problems with this practice – the obvious health and safety risks of standing on a slippery, uneven surface, and the damage done to the crate when used as a makeshift step.
The Poultry Service Association – that represents the vast majority of poultry-catching and live-haul poultry business in Ontario – set out to design, build and test a better way. With no commercially made loading steps available, the association engineered, fabricated and tested a lightweight, portable and safe poultry-loading step for the Ontario industry.
Developing a new, safe, loading step was approached as a sector initiative involving the main commercial poultry-catching companies in Ontario. This collaboration made it a much more economical and unified way to arrive at a solution that all companies could access.
Driving the need for a new safe step was two-fold – reducing slips and falls by crew, and reducing damage done to crates. It’s tough to calculate improved health and safety in dollars and cents. The savings in reduced crate damage is easier to estimate. At $85 per crate, and an estimated 30 per cent discard rate of damaged crates, the annual savings to the industry with the new safe step is estimated at more than $2.5 million.
The new safe portable step is now in use by 85 per cent of commercial poultry-catchers in Ontario, and the industry is noticing the difference. Trucking companies have seen a reduction in crate damage and appreciate the safety aspect of the new loading platforms.
This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.