Health and safety has become a big deal in the food industry since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. And rightly so. For many of us, we have had to dust off the safety file and really put in a lot of effort to ensure we are compliant.
While we may be really focussed in physical distancing and wearing of masks, it is also important to remember that preventing slips and falls is a safety issue we cannot afford to neglect. Wet floors and spills are a daily occurrence in the food industry. Although something as simple as a slip or trip may not seems nearly as risky as the COVID 19 pandemic, all accidents can cause lost time and injury to the employee. And you really don’t need those headaches right now.
In a study conducted on the reasons for slips and trips in the food industry, the following common factors were highlighted:
Clusters of slip accidents often occur where the floor seems satisfactory. These slips may be the result of an action that operatives do as a routine part of their work leaning or stretching to reach something for example. Where practicable modifying the procedures can reduce the frequency of slips.
Some slip black spots are often linked to contamination - products or materials falling on to the floor. While some spillage may be inevitable, where it is excessive an engineering solution may offer an effective remedy.
Free draining floors may not always do so. Spillages containing fine animal and vegetable matter can stop floors from draining freely. Even steeply sloped floors can become covered with a film of debris, making them slippery. Pushing racks or bins in these conditions increases the likelihood of an accident. The reduction of gradients and simpler fall patterns can produce a safer environment.
The hardness of shoe-sole rubber and the tread pattern affects traction. Footwear should be regularly cleaned and replaced as required.
No matter how rough the floor, if it is not cleaned it will become slippery.
The food industry is hard on floors. They should be non-porous and easy to clean. They must survive heavy traffic, high temperatures, fats and organic acids as well as the cleaning regime. The floor finish also needs to be extremely durable.
Use this as your audit checklist when you walk around the plant to ensure you are minimised slips and trips
Making sure your floors are constructed and maintained correctly is key. Ensuring the correct practices are in use is the next step to avoiding slips and trips. So don’t get tripped up!