Proper Air Balance is Critical to Employee Wellbeing and Food Safety

Food safety series

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Proper Air Balance is Critical to Employee Wellbeing and Food Safety

Proper air balance in a food plant is required to maintain the environmental parameters that keep the space food-safe, including temperature, humidity and the frequency of air replacement. Additionally, the direction of airflow is important, especially when dealing with raw animal products.

Now, in the post-pandemic world, clean, fresh air is more valuable than ever. As the world gets back to work, it’s important to examine your facility’s air system to ensure it’s up to par to keep workers and consumers safe.

 

4 Ways to Reduce COVID-19 Risk in Your Facility

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Now that COVID-19 is a risk encountered in everyday life, food plant owners and operators are looking for ways to protect their staff and facilities that are cost-effective and don’t hinder productivity.

As scientific authorities continue to nail down exactly how COVID-19 is spread, the overwhelming evidence suggests the virus primarily travels and is transmitted through droplets in the air. That’s why shielding your facility from an outbreak starts with its HVAC and refrigeration systems.

 

3 Must-have PSM Elements to Prevent Dust Explosions and Other Disasters

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3 Must-have PSM Elements to Prevent Dust Explosions and Other Disasters

Process Safety Management (PSM) is the OSHA standard that mandates employers identify, evaluate and control potentially hazardous activities, chemicals and components used in their processes.

While PSM audits are performed every three years, you should periodically perform self-audits to protect your facility from punitive measures from OSHA and, more importantly, to protect your employees from potentially catastrophic events that could lead to loss of life or property.

However, this isn’t a guide on performing self-audits (you can read more on that here).

Instead, we’re going to walk through a few PSM elements that you should pay special attention to while performing self-audits.

 

Protect Your Food Processing Facility from Dust Explosions

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The Imperial Sugar dust explosion of 2008 was a tragic reminder of the potential for common food processing ingredients to cause unneeded loss of life and property in a food plant. 

While it’s not feasible to ditch dusty ingredients like sugar, flour and cornstarch in most food processes, you should be aware of the danger particular ingredients create and formulate a plan to keep your workers and plant safe.

 

IIoT Tech Could Free Up Your Facility for Essential Workers

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IIoT Tech Could Free Up Your Facility for Essential Workers

As the coronavirus pandemic rocked the world early this year and its scope was realized in the United States, food plant operators had to adapt quickly to meet new federal and local orders that mandated social distancing. At the same time, producers saw restaurant demand plummet while retail and online grocery store market shares skyrocketed. As unpaid orders originally bound for restaurants rotted in storage, retailers had trouble keeping milk and eggs on the shelf.

This dramatic shake-up has forced food plant operators to reorganize equipment, production lines and workers to maintain safe social distancing, especially in the wake of multiple COVID-19 outbreaks among food plant employees.

Additionally, the wild fluctuations the supply chain experienced exposed vulnerabilities created by the communication lag between suppliers, manufacturers and retailers.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology has the potential to solve some of these COVID-19-related problems and revolutionize the future of the food processing industry. 

 

Hurricane Season 2020: Staying Safe During the ‘New Normal’

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Hurricane Season 2020: Staying Safe During the ‘New Normal’

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted a 60% chance of an above-normal season this year, with 13 to 19 named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes with wind speeds of at least 39 mph), six to ten hurricanes (category 1 or higher with winds of at least 74 mph) and three to six major hurricanes (category 3 or higher with winds of 111 mph or higher).  

The average season produces 12 named storms, with six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. This year’s hurricane season already set a record for the earliest fifth named storm ever when Tropical Storm Edouard formed almost two months earlier than the average fifth named storm.

While we have all been preoccupied trying to stay out of the path of the global pandemic, that doesn’t mean we should put off planning for a major storm that could threaten your food or beverage facility’s operation. In fact, COVID-19 is going to present an entirely new dynamic to hurricane preparedness and evacuation plans as people try to uphold social distancing.

 

Sunsweet Case Study: 3 Tips for Designing an International Processing Facility

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When Sunsweet decided to expand their existing facility in Chile and needed design help, they turned to Stellar for a partner to help them not only design the facility but guide them through the entire process. From selecting the right site, to understanding sanitary design principles which ensure food safety, to vetting of local subcontractors, choosing the right firm to support your project is one of the most important decisions you face.

 

Food Safety: Biofilm Formation and Removal

An in-depth look at warning signs, proper sanitation procedures and prevention

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Food Safety: Biofilm Formation and Removal

Biofilm can form just about anywhere in a food processing plant — even the cleanest looking surfaces can be a threat to food safety if an invisible layer of bacteria is present. Why does biofilm form and how can it be prevented? Knowing how to detect and eliminate biofilm is crucial to ensuring your food plant’s processing equipment is contaminant-free.

 

Do These 5 Things to Maintain Food Safety in Your Older Facility [Infographic]

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Do These 5 Things to Maintain Food Safety in Your Older Facility

 

You don’t need to build a brand new facility to meet modern-day food safety standards. The reality is that most companies don’t have the budget to build from scratch as often as they’d like, but that doesn’t mean your decades-old plant can’t be a shining example of food safety.

Let’s look at five things you can do now to ensure your older facility is up to today’s food safety standards.

 

Recalls on the Rise: How to Design Food Safety into Employee Welfare Areas

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Recalls on the Rise: How to Design Food Safety into Employee Welfare Areas

Food safety has never been more important at processing and manufacturing facilities.

One in six Americans gets sick every year from eating contaminated foods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Plus, the problem is only growing: Food safety regulators in the U.S. are recalling about twice as many products now as a decade ago.  

While there are numerous best practices for incorporating food safety into the actual processing, employee welfare areas are a critical point of potential risk that can’t be ignored. This is especially true for facilities that have both raw and ready-to-eat (RTE) operations.

Let’s examine the various touch points employees encounter at a facility and how to design these spaces to maximize food safety.