Most people know the risks associated with manual handling, such as back injuries, strains and sprains and soft tissue injuries. Mechanical handling machinery exists to eliminate those risks as well as provide processing efficiencies. However, working with machines also carries some level of risk. Therefore, food processors cannot overlook the importance of mechanical handling safety protocols.
Based on our knowledge of the industry, we’ve developed a list of mechanical handling safety must-do’s. Read on to learn what they are and share our downloadable list with your team.
- The dangers of working with food
- 5 mechanical handling safety precautions for food processors
- Mechanical handling safety must-dos [infographic]
The dangers of working with food
In the US, “Workers in food manufacturing are more likely to be fatally injured and experience nonfatal injuries and illnesses than those in private industry as a whole.” The situation in Australia is not dissimilar; working with food can be a dangerous business.
Of course, it’s not the food that is dangerous, it’s the tools and processes we use to produce it. Despite the fact that mechanical handling equipment is designed to reduce the potential hazards to health and safety associated with lifting, moving and otherwise handling products, working with machinery always carries some level of risk.
5 mechanical handling safety precautions for food processors
1. Make sure your equipment is regularly maintained
As the saying goes, “don’t start today by doing yesterday’s work.” Preventative maintenance of your mechanical handling equipment is critical. Not only will it guard against unnecessary downtime but it will also ensure your machines are in reliable, safe working order. Maintenance should be carried out in accordance with usage hours and/or logged downtime issues. The mechanical handling equipment supplied by FPE comes with manuals that contain a basic maintenance schedule. However, most companies should generate their own preventative maintenance plan based around their internal procedures and experience.
2. Create and stick to a training program for operators and workers
The majority of safety issues relating to mechanical handling could be prevented, or their severity reduced, by proper equipment training. Of course, operators must be adequately trained to use the machines, but all workers in the vicinity of the equipment must also receive training or guidelines to avoid accidents caused by working near the equipment.
3. Ensure load guidance is always followed
The correct load guidance must always be followed. This includes but is not limited to:
- Loading suitable product
- Not exceeding the maximum weight
- Using appropriate methods and tools to load machinery
- Safe and suitable stacking
4. Always use safety guards and PPE
If the equipment comes with specific safety protocols and guards, use them. In addition, suitable personal protective equipment should be worn.
5. Maintain an adequate supply of spare parts
Having a supply of suitable spare parts to keep your machinery in tip top condition means that risks due to equipment that is under-performing or wearing out are eliminated. It will also ensure your equipment is operating at a safe, optimum capacity.
Mechanical handling safety must-do’s [infographic]
We put together this handy list of tips for you and your team. Click the link to access a full-size printable version.
The FPE team is here to help
At FPE, we are proud suppliers of SYSPAL mechanical and bulk material handling equipment in Australia and New Zealand. Contact us today to find out more about the mechanical handling solutions and comprehensive customer support we provide.