According to the California Department of Labor Statistics and Research, workers in food-processing plants have a higher likelihood of being hurt on the job than workers in many other industries.1 Reaching across a conveyor, lifting heavy loads, twisting and bending at a work station, performing repetitive tasks, and working in awkward positions – all tasks commonly found in processing plants – are leading risk factors for injury.
Every injury comes at a cost — both to the employee injured and to the company — in way of accident investigations, OSHA logs, employee downtime, employee turnover, employee retraining, insurance premium increases, medical services, and hiring temporary replacement workers.
Understanding the causes of the most common injuries in food processing plants is key to making adjustments, investing in ergonomic equipment, and providing employee training in order to avoid the high cost of employee injuries.
8 Common Injury Causes
Below you will find a chart with the 8 most common food processing plant injuries along with their main causes.
|Injury / Illness||Causes|
|Cuts and Amputations||Improper use of knives, cutters, slicers, choppers and grinders.|
|Burns and Scalds||Contact with open flames, hot oils, steam, ovens, appliances, utensils.|
|Electric Shock / Electrocution||Improperly grounded / malfunctioning equipment and cleaning equipment.|
|Slips and Falls||Slippery and cluttered floors and inadequate lighting.|
|Soreness and Loss of Function of Wrists and Arms||Repeated awkward movements or vibration. Working in one position for extended periods of time.|
|Itching, Swelling, Redness of Skin||Temperature extremes; physical abrasion; exposure to detergents, cleaning solutions, food additives, some plant materials, pesticides on fruits and vegetables.|
|Coughing, Wheezing, Shortness of Breath||Exposure to flour, grain dust, spices, additives.|
Evaluate Your Plant
The table above should be used as a starting point to evaluate the safety of your plant. When you know the causes of common injuries, you can make a plan to avoid them.
Inspect any and all equipment that may contribute to the above injury causes, look for injury-causing points, and determine the next step in making those points safer. Do a plant walk-through and take note of floor spaces, stairs, and platforms that are prone to being slippery or cluttered and look into anti-slip coating to lessen the risk of slips and falls. Talk with employees to determine repetitive motions in their work stations that could lead to ergonomic injuries.
Evaluating your plant is the first step to creating a safer work space for your employees.
Ergonomic and Safety Solutions
When you’re ready to invest in and implement ergonomic and safety solutions into your plant, contact the experts at Fusion Tech.
We provide a wide array of ergonomic and safety equipment to prevent employee injuries, including: ergonomic stands, smokehouse cart lifts, platform lifts, pallet lifts, adjustable work stations, foot rails, safety cages and gates, and non-slip application spray. All of our solutions are custom designed and manufactured to fit your specific application needs and durable enough to last for years in a multi-shift operation.
Learn more about our ergonomic and safety solutions by clicking the button below.
1. Department of Industrial Relations Cal/OSHA Consultation Service Research and Education Unit. Ergonomics in Action: A Guide to Best Practices for the Food-Processing Industry. California: California Department of Industrial Relations, 2003. Print.