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Food - Processing, packaging, and Transport

Food manufacturing, especially meat processing, faces unique challenges. Efficient production methods, raw material costs, product quality, and food safety affect day-to-day operations, whether producing a single ingredient or a finished product. This vast sector that employs well over a million Americans in facilities coast to coast can look to us for the services and supplies they need to increase productivity, promote safety, and work more efficiently.

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Health & Safety Hazards

Electrical and other Hazardous Energy

Uncontrolled electrical or hazardous energy can harm workers if machinery isn't operated or maintained correctly. Both operational and lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures should be followed at all times. Utilizing proper head protection, gloves, and clothing can significantly reduce the likelihood of employee injury should an accident occur.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

The floors in processing plants can produce hazards. To keep themselves out of the ER, employees should wear footwear with non-slip soles that provides adequate traction and is appropriate for the work conditions. Avoid falls by keeping walkways free of clutter, using ladders properly, and using personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) where necessary.

Chemical Exposure

Burns, dermatitis, and inhalation sickness can affect those who work in food manufacturing. Workplaces with hazardous chemicals like ammonia and pest control substances must use engineering and administrative controls, identification labels, safety data sheets (SDS), and employee training to limit exposure. Gloves, sleeves, coveralls, respirators, and spray socks are examples of helpful personal protective equipment (PPE).

Sharp Surfaces

Cuts and lacerations can come from exposed screws on machinery, knife blades, and slicing machinery. Using food pushers, equipment guards, and the right blade for the job reduces accidents. Cut-resistant gloves also aid in risk reduction.

Combustible Dust

Food industry workers who are exposed to combustible particulate matter, including grain, flour, or sugar, face fire and explosion risk. Employers must develop and implement a combustible dust inspection and control plan and work to eliminate or reduce sources of ignition.


Workers in the food industry are routinely exposed to high heat, chemicals and hot substances and may suffer painful burns. Administrative and engineering controls, and appropriate clothing and face protection can help prevent these injuries.

Transportation Incidents

Road collisions cause injuries and fatalities each year for truck drivers. By practicing safe driving habits, avoiding alcohol and drug use, and getting proper sleep, accidents can be avoided.


Plant employees are often in loud environments. Prolonged exposure to both loud noise and sudden bursts of noise heavily impact hearing. OSHA requires employers to address hazards to hearing. Controlling noise exposure and using ear plugs and muffs prevent hearing loss at work.

Extreme Temperatures

Some food industry employees may be exposed to excessive heat and cold, making their jobs more difficult and putting them at risk for illness. High heat and humidity causes dehydration, heat stress, and heat stroke. Frequent breaks, proper hydration, and air circulation help workers stay well. Cold temperatures may lead to frostbite and hypothermia. Wearing warm gloves and clothing reduces risks.


Recognizing and controlling hazards is essential in averting injuries and deaths in food manufacturing. To prevent these incidents and remain compliant, safety programs should be structured according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) regulations. A successful program should encompass the hierarchy of controls, training on operational procedures and risks employees might encounter, as well as proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Read below about some of the regulations put in place by OSHA, USDA, and NFPA.


Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees' hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.


Liquid, frozen, and dried egg products used in the processing of any poultry product shall have been prepared under inspection and be so marked in accordance with the Egg Products Inspection Act.


Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.


Standard for the prevention of fires and dust explosions in agricultural and food processing facilities.


Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals.


The employer shall establish and maintain good housekeeping practices to eliminate hazards to employees to the extent practicable.


Know The Risks Of Grain Handling And Storage

According to Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program, there were 38 grain engulfment cases in the US in 2019. This was a 27% increase from 2018.

Prevent Contact Burns

A contact burn is a burn caused by touching a hot object. Around 70,000 people visited hospital emergency rooms in 2019 for this type of painful burn. To avoid these injuries, the American Burn Association (ABA) offers these helpful tips

Know The Dangers Of Underground Grease Traps

You’ll find grease traps at food processing sites, bakeries, hotels, and grocery stores. They’re generally an underground, outdoor container that collects and traps fats, oil, and grease (FOG) in order to prevent sewer system blockages and damage.

Skin Care For Food Industry Workers

Occupational dermatitis is an ongoing issue for food workers and managers alike. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that occupational skin disorders, such as dermatitis, affect about millions of workers annually. Including time away from work, reduced productivity, and worker’s compensations claims, the cost of dermatitis is alarming.

Avoiding Biological Agents In The Meatpacking Industry

There are hundreds of thousands of people working in the food industry—and keeping them safe is crucial. The meatpacking industry faces demanding challenges due to the unique substances in their environment.

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) In The Meat Processing Industry

An estimated half-million people are employed in the US meat processing industry. Safely working in this environment is important. One of the leading causes of workplace injury in the meat processing industry is musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs.)
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The Technical Services Department is your source for comprehensive safety solutions. Look to us for equipment rentals, scheduling repairs, and professional maintenance and inspection teams.
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