The food manufacturing industry racked up $7,386,025 in OSHA fines between October 2017 and September 2018. This number, based on 1,584 citations is lower than in recent years, showing that the industry is making strides to improve worker safety.
Here are food manufacturing’s top 10 most-cited OSHA standards for 2018.
1. The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)
Standard 1910.147 covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization or start up of the machines or equipment, or release of stored energy, could harm employees.
This isn’t the first time lockout/tagout has topped OSHA’s list. The CDC points the finger at the fast pace with which employees are required to work. When machines go down, the primary goal is to get them back up and running as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this often means maintenance workers don’t take proper steps to de-energize the equipment first.
2. General requirements for all machines
Standard 1910.212 covers machine guarding to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks.
All machinery and power transmission apparatus in food processing facilities must be guarded. Period.
3. Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals
Standard 1910.119 covers requirements for preventing or minimizing the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals.
From anhydrous ammonia used in cooling systems to disinfectants used to clean equipment, there are many hazardous chemicals to be found in food plants. Workers who may come into contact with these chemicals must be informed, use proper work practices, and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
4. Hazard communication
Standard 1910.1200 requires all hazardous materials to be classified and workers to be informed about any hazardous materials to which they are exposed. This includes not only the chemicals mentioned above, but also materials like combustible dust, which is highly prevalent in the food industry.
5. Mechanical power-transmission apparatus
Standard 1910.219 covers most types and shapes of power-transmission belts, pulleys, gears, and more. Essentially, it says they must be guarded.
6. Wiring methods, components, and equipment for general use
Standard 1910.305 covers requirements for permanent and temporary wiring installations and components like raceways, frames, and fittings. One provision protects against fires and explosions by prohibiting wiring from being installed in any ducts used to transport dust.
7. Powered industrial trucks
Standard 1910.178 covers fire protection, design, and maintenance for powered industrial trucks. In food manufacturing, that typically means forklifts.
8. General requirements – Electrical
Standard 1910.303 covers the examination, installation, and use of electrical equipment. It includes requirements like floor marking to indicate electrical hazards and providing sufficient access space around electrical equipment.
9. Safety requirements for scaffolding
10. Respiratory protection
Standard 1910.134 protects workers from breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors.
Worker exposure can be very specific based on the product being made. For example, popcorn manufacturing workers can be expose to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, compounds also found in cigarettes.