It’s always a good time to check up on your facility’s safety — but now the stakes are even higher when it comes to safety violations.
Employers across the U.S. have been facing higher penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this year. In January 2021, the federal agency announced it was increasing the maximum penalty for serious and other than serious citations to $13,653 and the maximum for repeat and willful violations to $136,532.
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.
There’s a prevalent double standard when it comes to food facility safety management. Think about the measures taken when a visitor enters a food plant production area: You have to dress out, walk through a foot bath, take off jewelry, wear a smock. All of these precautions are designed to keep your product safe — but what about your maintenance crew?
It’s not uncommon to see safety standards and attention to cleanliness become more relaxed in maintenance areas or on the roof of a food plant. Food safety precautions get a lot of attention because owners (rightfully) fear product contamination and highly publicized recalls, but what about the risks outside your building? One maintenance or construction accident can do just as much damage in negative publicity and lawsuits as a product recall.
Dust explosions have been linked to numerous fatal accidents in the United States. Between 1980 and 2012, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigated more than 280 combustible dust incidents that killed 141 people and injured 767 others.
Food manufacturing plants are among the most susceptible to these incidents, especially those in the baking segment that use a lot of flour and sugar. Of course, protecting your facility and employees is paramount, but the risk factors aren’t always obvious. Before we look at how to proactively protectyour facility, let’s examine how these disasters can happen.
In last week’s post, I introduced you to the behavior-based approach to worker safety. While ergonomic design and regulatory compliance remain critical to worker safety, behavior-based safety strategies incentivize employees to take ownership of their own safety. Employees proactively identify potential hazards, helping prevent them from ever happening in the first place.
Below, I outline in more detail three reasons you should integrate a behavior-based approach into your food plant’s worker safety practices.
Worker safety is a critical element in every food plant, regardless of the type of products manufactured. And while creating a safe, ergonomic work environment is a must, sometimes it’s not enough to ensure the safety of your most important asset—your employees.
In a recent Food Engineering article on ergonomic practices, I discussed how a behavior-based approach can enhance your plant’s worker safety. With behavior-based safety training, workers are incentivized to proactively look for potential hazards, creating a safety-oriented workforce.
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