Despite more regulations and technological advances, food-processing plants continue to pose severe injury hazards. If you earn your income in this industry, your employer must protect your health and safety and inform you of known safety hazards. Learning how to mitigate the following safety risks might keep you out of the hospital.
Cleaning, processing and packaging of food involve machines that pose a variety of safety risks. Conveyors and unguarded equipment expose you to amputation injuries and life-threatening crushing injuries due to collapsing structures or compression by equipment. Your employer must provide the following protection:
- Machine guarding to protect you from making contact with moving parts.
- Lockout/tagout devices to ensure deactivation of electrical equipment during repairs and maintenance.
- Provide adequate training on the proper use of LOTO to prevent burns, electrocution and more.
- Noise control protects your hearing and ensures instructions are audible to limit injury risks.
Conveyors are par for the course in food processing plants. The risks they pose include burns from contact to hot surfaces, exposure to moving parts and pressurized systems’ dangers.
Ammonia release threats
Anhydrous ammonia is a toxic chemical used as a refrigerant in meat processing plants, breweries, soft drink and juice processing plants, and more. The release of anhydrous ammonia poses the following risks:
- The corrosive quality of ammonia could damage your lungs, eyes and skin.
- Ammonia’s flammability could be lethal at concentrations as low as 15% to 28% volume in air.
- Any ammonia release in an enclosed space can lead to a deadly explosion if there is an ignition source.
Slips, trips and falls
The primary cause of slip and trip injuries is the prevalence of liquids used in food-related facilities. Unsafe, wet surfaces and water puddles pose slip hazards and uneven surfaces, and accessing platforms pose trip hazards. Injuries you suffer in a fall accident could be life- changing and even end your career.
Floor tape solutions
Many food-manufacturing or processing facility owners take advantage of the safety benefits floor tapes and plates provide.
- Tread Caution Steps: Fitting dangerous areas like ledges, entryways and steps with black and yellow textured plates reduces injury risks.
- Tread Plates: Bolting tread plates onto uneven and other dangerous surfaces can provide traction and reduce fall hazards.
- Tread Tape: This tape provides grip in wet conditions to prevent slip-and-fall incidents.
If you or your co-workers suffer work-related injuries, you might be eligible for benefits through the California workers’ compensation insurance program. Reporting your injuries as soon as possible is crucial to ensure the filing of your benefits claim within the time allowed. An approved claim could provide benefits to cover medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages.