Working in food processing is not easy. In fact, it can be dangerous. The food manufacturing industry has a disturbingly high rate of injuries. In 2013, the injury rate was 5.0 out of 100 workers. This may not sound like a lot, but it is in comparison to only 4.3 for the whole manufacturing sector. Due to the frequency of workplace accidents in this industry, you must be proactive at avoiding hazards.
Due to the physically demanding nature of food processing, there are a lot of risks at your job. Here are a few of the most prominent food manufacturing hazards.
1. Repetitive motions, overexertion and improper ergonomics
When you work in food production, your job duties may include a lot of strenuous manual labor, including the following:
- Stacking products on pallets
- Lifting items to high levels
- Moving objects to and from workstations
- Emptying cooking containers
- Sorting, packing or boxing food
- Squeezing product dispensers
- Loading cans
These tasks are physically demanding and repetitive. They can cause you to suffer from musculoskeletal disorders, such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back strains.
2. Sharp objects
You may need to handle sharp objects, including knives, slicers, cutters, grinders and choppers. If an accident occurs, you may suffer a deep cut or even an amputation.
3. Hot items, appliances and materials
Food processing requires the use of extreme temperatures. You may come into contact with the following sources of scalds and burns:
- Hot oils
- Open flames
4. Slippery floors, cluttered walkways and poor lighting
Hazards can be practically anywhere that may cause you to slip or trip. Something as simple as boxes in a walkway, spilled liquid or a burnt out lightbulb may cause a workplace injury. This kind of accident may cause bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, sprains and brain injuries.
It is vital for you and your employer to do everything possible to be safe at your food manufacturing job.