Take simple steps towards improving your workplace safety
Everyone deserves to have a safe work environment. It doesn’t matter what industry they’re a part of. Your staff should feel confident in performing their daily tasks without the stress of potentially injuring themselves. The truth is there will always be an element of risk in a workplace. Food processing is no exception. But there are many steps you can take towards improving work safety in food processing.
Risks to work safety can come in many forms. It’s not just the equipment being used or the physical environment that can pose a safety risk. It can be misinformation, and misconduct too. If staff are not trained correctly, then they will never have the right knowledge they need to perform their work tasks safely. Sometimes it can be the behaviour of your staff and their attitude towards workplace safety. By disrespecting safety procedures they are far less likely to follow them correctly.
Improve communication and training
There are many safety protocols that need to be followed in food processing. The challenge is teaching all your staff these safety protocols. It comes down to the quality of safety training and communication in your workplace. As part of employee inductions, a workplace safety training session should be mandatory. Continuous training also needs to take place whenever a safety protocol changes.
Whenever a safety protocol is changed or updated it needs to be clearly communicated to your staff. Staff bulletins should be sent out, posters should be updated and staff should attend mandatory meetings to be informed about these updates. By staying on top of any changes in safety practices you will continue to maintain a high standard of safety. These high standards will help to minimise safety risks and incidents in your work environment.
Telling your employees what to do isn’t always enough. Sometimes it’s better to explain why they’re doing something. Understanding why a safety process is performed can help them define the importance of them. Employees need to be reminded on a daily basis when it comes to the consequences of poor safety practices. That’s why many workplaces incorporate safety posters in different areas. Clear diagrams and simple messaging can go a long way towards educating your staff on safety practices.
Regular standup Toolbox meetings on the factory floor have been proven to be an extremely effective method of communication. One minute training sessions and updates can be completed in these meetings. RMS (Risk Management Strategy) should be a foundation of these discussions to continually identify assess and control risk in the business
Better staff participation
Work safety education may start with managers and supervisors in your workplace. But implementing safety across your work environment requires engagement and participation from everyone. After all, safety measures are designed for everyone. So why shouldn’t everyone be involved? What you’ll find is that a breakdown in a safety process usually occurs when only part of your team is engaged in doing the right thing.
It’s so important to make sure that all workers are implementing safety practices and measures that are designed to make their workplace safer. One way to get all your staff more engaged is to delegate more active roles. So instead of one supervisor carrying out safety checks, why not delegate these tasks to more people. Spread safety tasks evenly among your team and you’ll instantly get more employees actively involved in safety.
Another way to get all staff more involved is to seek their feedback. When you’re reviewing work operations and procedures there’s no harm in getting staff input. It may reveal more details about work operations that you were unaware of. Doing this also helps to give staff a sense of empowerment and value within the workplace. This can only lead to more positive outcomes for the business.
Setting up better equipment maintenance practices
Poor equipment maintenance is often one of the leading causes of accidents and injuries in a workplace. If they haven’t caused an incident then they are definitely making your workplace more unsafe right now. When it comes to equipment maintenance, it’s not just about the big machinery. Everyday tools and equipment all have their part to play. Take our following example for reference.
In work environments like poultry processing, workers can be more at risk for developing repetitive motion injuries. This risk can be caused by something as simple as workers using blunt knives. This issue is most likely caused by an equipment maintenance practice that doesn’t ensure knives are sharpened on a regular enough basis. But the issue could also be caused by poor worker training and participation. The staff should be more responsible and report the issue of having blunt knives that are making their job more difficult.
To improve equipment maintenance practices it’s a good idea to review them on a regular basis. These reviews can help establish a channel of feedback and communication between everyone at your workplace. Again, it’s important to get staff from all levels involved in reviews of your equipment maintenance practices. They are the ones with firsthand experience. They can tell you when a task has become too unsafe or strenuous. It’s also likely they have a few ideas of their own on how to improve equipment maintenance practices.
Improve your workplace safety with NFI
Here at National Food Institute, we pride ourselves on improving workplace safety in food processing. It’s all thanks to our unique approach to workplace training. We take the time to form training courses that are strongly based on your workplace environment. We don’t take a cookie-cutter approach to workplace training.
Our trainers will tailor workplace training to how your workplace operates. This helps to ensure that your staff get relevant training. They will have a better understanding of areas like risk assessment, safe equipment handling and maintenance. One of our main goals is to make your staff qualified risk managers. They will understand how to identify a safety hazard in your workplace. They will know the proper steps towards reporting, containing, and rectifying workplace safety hazards.
Ready to improve work safety in food processing? Contact us today to get started.