Walking/Working Surfaces – Slippery Floors
Slips on greasy, wet or improperly maintained floors can result in very serious and permanent injuries.
Methods for Reducing and Controlling Floor Surface Hazards
Controls that can help eliminate some of the hazards associated with slippery floors include:
- Adequate drainage in the blood pit area and other areas where grease, moisture, blood and animal fluids tend to accumulate. If not properly drained, blood will coagulate and create an extremely slippery floor.
- Good drainage in all wet areas, such as on processing floors where water is used to wash down floors. Water pooling in areas with drains may be an indication that the drains are clogged.
- Platforms or mats for workers to stand on in wet areas.
- Use of non- skid flooring material at all work stations for workers to stand on, especially in areas where hand knives and power tools are used.
- Installation of specially designed flooring materials which are resistant to acids, animal fats, blood, chemicals and other corrosive materials over cement floors. These materials erode cement floors very easily and create ruts and holes in the floor.
- Work shoes with plastic or neoprene soles, or non-crepe rubber soles with treads. The proper shoe sole material can significantly reduce the number of slips and falls.
Walking/Working Surfaces – Trips and Falls
Floors, platforms, and other walking and working surfaces which are not clean and free of obstructions present tripping hazards.
What to Types of Walking Surface Hazards to Look For
Floors in food processing plants tend to erode or wear down resulting in holes, cracks and uneven flooring. Tripping hazards can also result from loose drain covers and gratings over floor openings such as floor augers. Drain covers and floor grating may also be uneven due to worn away flooring.
Methods for Reducing and Controlling the Risk of Trips and Falls
- All floors, platforms, stands and other surfaces that employees are standing on to perform their work tasks must be free of hazards and obstructions.
- Holes and cracks in floors which have become eroded should be repaired immediately.
- Loose drain covers and floor grating should be repaired.
Knives, Scissors and Other Hand Tools
Use of knives, scissors, and other hand tools result in the most common injuries in meatpacking, poultry and food processing plants, including cuts, serious lacerations, stab wounds, abrasions and amputations.
What Types of Hand Tool Hazards to Look For
- Lack of or poorly maintained PPE, such as mesh gloves with holes or other defects;
- PPE that doesn’t fit properly, such as gloves that are too large;
- Crowded work stations with knives and other sharp tools;
- Slippery and poorly designed handles;
- Dull edges on knives and scissors that require more force to use; and
- Fast pace of work.
Methods for Reducing and Controlling the Risk of Injury from Knives, Scissors and Other Hand Tools
- Use of PPE in the form of metal mesh gloves, sleeves, aprons, plastic belly guards, wrist and arm guards. OSHA requires employers to provide this equipment in clean and reliable condition. As of May 15, 2008, PPE must be provided by the employer at no cost to employee. To be fully protective, PPE such as gloves must be free of holes and other defects. Gloves and sleeves come in different sizes and should fit well, as gloves that are too large or too small can create other hazards. Workers need to be trained on the proper use and care of PPE.
- Redesign work stations so that workers are spaced at safe distances.
- Knives and scissors should be sharpened on an as-needed basis.
- Make sure all job positions are fully covered and up to crewing standards so that reasonable work speeds can be maintained. Example: The number of workers on a boning line should be appropriate to the amount of work that needs to be done. Too few workers can result in work over- load or speed up, which increases the risk of injury.