Food processing plants contain hazards unique to their industry – more than the typical manufacturing environment. These often include confined spaces, working around wet floors, use of highly automated equipment and the presence of harsh chemicals. Such hazards create challenges plant workers and their managers must properly address, in the areas of:
- Slip, trip and fall incidents
- Equipment hazards such as sharp knives, and machines that can injure or trap employees
- Communication around safe handling of chemicals and other cleaning/sanitation processes
- Maintenance of silos, tanks, mixing vats and other tight spaces
A Culture of Safety
Educating and informing workers about worker safety programs can also create a workplace environment that facilitates critical food safety measures – reducing the threat of contamination. Simply put, a safety-oriented culture is more likely to yield safe product.
Visual Information is Key
That’s why it’s important to create visual workplace displays that automatically give workers the right information in the right place at the right time. These visual communications – providing critical instruction regarding workplace risks and processes – are most effective when placed for ease of viewthroughout the facility, particularly near equipment, shelving, floors and doorways. Communicating critical information through the use of digital signage throughout a facility improves both worker safety and productivity.
Lockout/Tagout Procedures on Display
For example, OSHA standards for safety in manufacturing environments require clear lockout/tagout practices and procedures for disabling machinery or equipment while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities. In a visual workplace, these lockout/tagout procedures can be graphical in nature and always on display adjacent to the specific equipment it references, allowing employees to easily follow the step-by-step instructions necessary to successfully lock out machines according to OSHA standards. When workers have easy visual access to such important instructions, plants can increase safety and productivity while reducing downtime, fines, accidents and fatalities. Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year.
The Spindle Solution
Spindle operations management software is an ideal solution for effectively disseminating key information within food processing and packaging operations that rely on a coordinated effort between man and machine. Our visual workplace philosophy is used in combination with cutting edge technology and our understanding of the manufacturing environment to deliver a safer workplace for food producers. It also visually identifies equipment and work areas needing attention, in real time, allowing for prioritization of maintenance teams and minimizing downtime.