Working in a food production environment can be an exciting prospect, whether you're in charge of a big team in a busy food factory, the master baker behind the scenes, or even handling food in a warehouse.
However, your culinary journey could be in jeopardy by even the simplest mistake.
Safety is crucial - not only for yourself but also those around you.
To avoid any potential hazards, here are 5 ways to stay safe in a food production environment...
Communicating sounds like such a simple tip but it's so important! There might be somebody you might not get along with, but you're better off talking to them rather than putting everyone at risk.
It might be getting their attention when they turn their back away from food, or even asking for help when you need it - it's beneficial to communicate than have the place up in flames or have a breakdown on the production line the minute you turn your back.
If you're in charge, make sure everyone knows that. Remember what happened in Monica's kitchen in Friends when nobody communicated or took her seriously?
They locked her in a freezer.
2. SAFE CLOTHING
Working in a food production environment means your safety has to be prioritised over looking good.
Avoid having long and flowy sleeves - or anything loose for that matter with scalding being one of the most common injuries - while synthetic clothing could potentially melt on your skin if it catches fire, which is why most professional chefs have chef jackets with knotted cotton buttons - instead of plastic.
Keep your brand-new trainers at home you’ll be required to wear suitable, protective footwear. There's bound to be spillage wherever you're working, so wearing slip-resistant shoes means you'll still be standing when you walk over the spills, just maintain cleanliness in general so you won't be in that situation.
There's an extra tip for you, you lucky thing.
3. MOVING HEAVY LOADS
You may be asked to do some heavy lifting, it's could be part of your everyday job.
Know the layout; you don't want to walk into equipment or anyone around you where you could drop everything or even hurt somebody.
Don't be lazy! Sure, you may think you can carry the extra few boxes through the factory but what if you hurt your back or shoulders? Make an extra trip if you need to or ask somebody to help to stay safe.
Safety > efficiency.
4. PROPER USE OF EQUIPMENT
Chances are, you're going to face using equipment you've probably never come across before, such as electrical equipment. Make sure you've been trained. If you're not comfortable even after being trained, then ask again until you are - better safe than sorry.
Know how to handle sharp equipment, such as knives. Keep them sharp, keep the handles secure, cover the blades when not in use, and safely dispose of any equipment which can be considered a hazard in the workplace.
5. BE PREPARED
Food production is a fast-paced industry; you'd need to stay alert at all times and be ready for the unexpected to happen - we're talking natural disasters to furious customers, to having wet floors signs available.
Know what the plans are in case of a fire, such as the exits and how to keep yourself and everyone around you out of danger. Know who your first-aiders are or be aware of where your closest first-aid kit is, along with fire extinguishers, and other safety materials without wasting valuable time.
Following these five simple procedures will not only make your life easier in the food production workplace, but it keeps you and those around you safe at all times.
This Guest Blog comes to you from Tom Larkin, Marketing Controller at Shoes For Crews (Europe) Limited. Previously Tom held senior marketing roles on the client and agency side for companies in both London and Dublin.
Shoes For Crews (Europe) are one of the world's leading manufacturers of slip resistant and safety footwear. They are an industry leader in safety for over three decades and to date have kept over 100,000 workplaces safe worldwide. Shoes for Crews unique slip-resistant outsoles are developed with the distinct mission of keeping workers safe across multiple industries. A recent relaunch of its brand has seen more stylish and comfortable shoes being introduced, including new innovative features such as spill and trip resistance. www.sfceurope.com