Thanks to the United States’ Occupational Health and Safety Work Act, it’s a manager’s job to care for the health, safety and welfare of workers, visitors and the public within a business. Still, 2,834,500 were injured on the job in 2018 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is a costly expense—workplace injuries and illnesses cost around 250 billion a year in the United States.
While safety processes differ between industries, for example, there are separate mandates for office jobs and industrial jobs. The Health and Safety Work Act requires all employers of all types to provide a professional health and safety briefing.
This briefing should:
- Outline the potential hazards of the workplace.
- Provide guidance on hazard avoidance.
- Establish hazard reporting methods.
This article will cover the safety hazards specific to the food and beverage industry.
Floor Hazards in the Food and Beverage Industry
Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common non-fatal accident types, and made up 29 percent of non-fatal workplace accidents in 2018 (with mistakes in handling, lifting or carrying workplace items being the second most common at 20 percent). In the food and beverage industry specifically, slips and trips make up 25 percent of all non-fatal accidents.
The cause of these accidents is remarkably consistent—90 percent of slips in the food and beverage industry are caused by spillage and wet floors after the food has been cleaned up. Meanwhile, most trips are caused by obstructions. Trip and slip hazards in the food and beverage industry include:
- Food and drink spills.
- Cooking oil spills.
- Wet floors from cleaning.
- Dropped objects.
- Walkway obstructions.
- Uneven flooring and other surfaces.
- Equipment failure, especially in receiving areas.
- Vehicle accidents in receiving areas.
- Unsecured items falling from shelving.
There are many easy steps employers can take in order to reduce or eliminate workplace accidents. These include:
Flooring with slip-resistant properties can help reduce accidents in areas where food is handled and served as well as other wet processing areas. This flooring can be installed at a pitch to sanitary drainage systems in order to funnel surface water out of the area. This also will assure that any bacteria (an infection risk) in puddles of water are quickly removed.
Durable flooring built to withstand wear and tear from heavy traffic, machinery and other industrial processes will help reduce cracking or peeling over time. The thicker the specified floor, the stronger it will be and the less often it will need repair or replacement.
Additionally, when flooring is multi-colored or patterned, dropped items easily can blend in and fool the human eye. Choosing one single-colored epoxy resin as flooring helps increase visibility and makes it easier for employees to notice items on the ground that don’t belong there.
It’s important to note areas with permanent trip hazards and mark them with colored signage. Warning tape is not a solution because it can be easily peeled away and could be an additional hazard.
Demarcation, or the process of ‘zoning’ a space into several sites used for specific processes (such as raw food preparation and cooked food preparation), can help employees easily and quickly understand what hazards to expect. Often, each area will have its own designated color of epoxy flooring.
In addition to clearly outlining the purpose of a section, demarcation also reduces the chance of contamination between raw and cooked food.
Ucrete Flooring Systems from Master Builder Solutions
The Ucrete flooring systems from Master Builder Solutions are especially effective in preventing slips and eliminating bacteria. Each polyurethane screed in the Ucrete flooring system uses silver (in partnership with Polygiene) to eliminate up to 99 percent of bacteria on contact when paired with a regular cleaning regime. This helps keep produce fresh and prevents easy infections.
Additionally, Ucrete is:
- Slip resistant.
- Chemical resistant.
- Abrasion resistant.
- Joint free.
- Available in a variety of colors.
Install Workplace-Safe Flooring with Surface Solutions
Don’t let workplace accidents happen again—protect your employees, your reputation and your finances with slip-resistant, durable, industrial flooring. Reach out to Surface Solutions, a leading provider of industrial flooring for the food and beverage industry, to speak about your specific needs today.