Health and Safety Practices at Food Processing Plants

Employee in protective gear meat processing facilityFood processing plants must be kept safe and sanitary at all times to ensure safe food handling and maintain employee health. Accidents due to factory hazards can be costly, and affect both consumers and employees. For food, ingredients and chemicals are vulnerable to contamination and infestation, putting consumers at risk. Workers risk potential injuries and infections from machinery.

Here are some priority areas:

Personal Hygiene

Employees are in contact with the food product in multiple phases of processing, so practising proper personal hygiene, such as hand washing and wearing hair nets, is mandatory.

Overalls and protective footwear not only protects the employee from spills and stains, but also restricts exposure of the food to potential contaminants. In large food processing production, the plant provides facilities for frequent hand washing and regular cleaning of anti-bacterial foot dips.

Proper Equipment

Contamination and spoilage are common risks in food processing facilities. These risks can be costly because food that is damaged becomes unusable.

Proper food storage equipment will limit these risks. Different foodstuffs need different types of storage. For example, large volumes of liquid can be stored in intermediate bulk containers (IBC) bund pallets that ensure safe transport, minimise spillage and contain accidents.

Clean Environment

Spilt liquids and substances can cause accidents for employees such as slips, trips and falls. These accidents can lead to both minor and major injuries, from mild abrasions to muscle sprains and worse.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the work area ensures a safer environment for workers and the food product. For example, routine disinfection of instruments and equipment reduce the chances of bacterial spread.

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Safe workplaces and proper handling practices ensure that food meets the necessary health and quality standards set by the government. Well-maintained food processing facilities contribute not only to the health and safety of its employees, but also the end-users by distributing food products processed in a safe and healthy environment.