As part of Moore McPhee's commitment to Industry Safety, we will regularly write an article focusing on a particular industry and what WHS means for that industry.
Our current Industry Focus is on Food Manufacturing.
If you would like your industry to be the subject of one of our articles, please contact us.
We have had quite a number of food manufacturing clients over the years ranging from very small artisan smallgoods manufacturers up to medium size manufacturers of a variety of food products. Yet the risks in all these operations remain largely the same. In this article we look at the risks particular to this industry, but it does not cover food safety, which is outside our area of expertise.
Hazardous Manual Tasks
Depending on the size of the operation one of the greatest risks food manufacturing workers face is strains caused by repetitious movements, i.e. manual handling injuries.
Small businesses find it is not possible to rotate staff through a variety of tasks, resulting in them undertaking the same tasks often for a whole shift. Cutting meat, loading hoppers, lifting finished goods into transport packaging. Each of these things, done for an entire shift, can cause repetitive strain injuries.
Consider speaking to your staff about hazardous manual tasks and work together to identify ways to achieve production goals whilst ensuring workers are not exposed to unacceptable repetitive strain risks.
Slips, Trips and Falls
We often see a very small, one or two-person operation quickly expand its headcount without a correlating expansion in workspace. This results in work areas not being designed for the increase in workers moving around. Workers literally trip over each other as they work in an environment that was originally intended for one, or maybe two, staff.
As above, it is vital to consult with staff to identify potential risk areas and possible solutions. Simply changing the layout of a work room can remove many strain, slip, trip and fall risks.
Entanglement and Amputation
Food manufacturers in the start up phase may not have the capital to purchase new processing equipment and often end up buying other people’s headaches. It is a requirement under Section 25 of the WHS Act that suppliers of plant ensure plant supplied is without risks to the health and safety of persons at work. Yet few start up companies are aware of this requirement, and don’t know they are entitled to purchase equipment that meets all of today’s relevant standards. Guards must be in place, interlocks functional, emergency stops present and labelled.
When purchasing second hand equipment ensure to ask for a risk assessment. Where the risk assessment identifies a potential risk ensure that remedies include guards etc., and ensure too that those risk remedies are actually in place and operational on the equipment.
If in doubt, Moore McPhee can conduct unbiased risk assessments on plant, equipment and processes at any time.
As part of Moore McPhee’s commitment to regularly publish articles that contribute to small business work health and safety, every quarter we choose an industry to spotlight for our Industry Focus. In these articles, we explain how work health and safety relates specifically to this industry and discuss any particular needs of that industry. If you would like your industry to be covered as part of this series, please contact us.
Moore McPhee WHS Consultants specialise in the needs of small and medium businesses. We are here to help and can provide cost effective solutions for your business. Contact us on 1300 362 351 or speak directly to our Senior Principal Consultant Vanessa Moore on 0401382083 or for a confidential discussion about your particular work health and safety needs.
Disclaimer: Any advice and information in this article is general in nature, does not take into account particular circumstances and should not be construed as professional advice. Unless specifically stated otherwise, the information in this article is prepared for South Australian Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking as defined in the SA Work Health and Safety Act 2012 only. The information may be applicable to other states of Australia that have adopted the harmonised work health and safety legislation but is not guaranteed.
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