Food and beverage plants come with many risks including wet floors, small spaces, automated machines and more. There are many practices a company can adopt to help avoid hazards that risk worker safety, loss of productivity or even lawsuits. Here are some that you can implement if you haven’t already:
- Ensure there are written processes for everything possible – even better, make them visual. Hang posters and instructions throughout your facility, and especially near machines, so employees know what to do every step of the way. In areas prone to wetness, have caution and wet floor signs, as well as materials to clean up the mess at hand. For machines that need maintenance, provide a Lockout/Tagout procedure that can be easily followed.
- Make instructions machine-specific. Put instructions and visual representations next to each machine that specifically walks an employee through using said machine. Better yet, make the instructions multi-lingual.
- Increase employee training. Employee safety should be your number one priority. Take care training each employee thoroughly and often – at least one comprehensive training per year. Each employee should know the hazards of the chemicals and materials they’re working with. Refresh existing employees on safety procedures and make sure new hires start safety training right away.
- Implement employees ID’s and visitor badges. Giving visitor badges with expiration times lets employees know when someone shouldn’t be there. Giving only certain, highly-trained employees badges to access parts of the facility helps to keep under-trained employees out of unsafe areas.
- Use security cameras. One of the best ways to ensure employees are safe and following the correct procedures is to employ video cameras that can be monitored. These are also important if someone does get hurt because you can check to see exactly what went wrong and have a plan to prevent similar accidents in the future.
Food safety starts with employee safety. Get the necessary procedures in place and monitor to see if accident rates and call-offs decrease. It can also help to ask for employee feedback to make sure the new procedures are working for the people who use them every day. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to keep your plant, your employees and your products safe.