Work in places related to the meat industry is strictly regulated by health and safety regulations, which define not only requirements related to working conditions, premises or safety procedures, but also important for the safety of the activities of the employer and employee. The basic obligations of the employer include providing employees with adequate collective and individual protection measures, i.e. all disposable items and accessories, as well as clothing and footwear for work. It is the employer’s responsibility to train the employee in their proper use and to keep records of the issued personal protective equipment. The employee is obliged to use the funds issued to him during work, as well as to use them in accordance with their intended purpose. All defects and shortages in personal protective equipment must be reported to the employer immediately.
The most common accident at work in meat processing plants is an injury – more or less serious. This risk can be significantly reduced by selecting appropriate accessories and protective clothing for employees, as well as by equipping them with butcher knives appropriate for their work. Among the potential dangers awaiting the employees of such places, there are also collisions with moving machines or slips on a slippery or wet floor. In meat processing plants, the floor is often flooded with water or grease.
The equipment of meat processing plants is to meet all occupational health and safety standards, i.e. it must be adapted to the level of risk and conditions with which the employee comes into contact at a given position. The equipment should also be appropriately selected to the size of the employee’s clothing and footwear, and should be ergonomic enough to ensure freedom of movement. Protective clothing should be CE marked and protect against:
- cut or stabbed to the body, hands and forearms,
- falling on the head or legs of heavy objects,
- slipping on a slippery surface,
- the effects of excessive noise at work,
- contact with pathogenic microorganisms,
- too high or too low temperature,
- electric shock during the slaughter of animals.
The use of personal protective equipment at certain positions related to meat processing is necessary. Protective clothing for the meat industry is intended to protect workers against mechanical, chemical and thermal injuries. The standard is a waterproof apron for the meat industry, usually reusable. Such an apron is thicker than a disposable smock, it offers better cut protection and temperature protection, and at the same time has excellent waterproof properties.
Another type of protective clothing used in the meat industry are metal aprons, which are put on with special braces or hip belts. Such aprons provide maximum protection against cuts for the entire body of the worker. Standard clothing used in the meat industry also includes anti-cut gloves, made of fine metal mesh resembling chain mail. These types of metal gloves can be short to protect the hand only, or long to prevent tissue disruption in the forearms as well. They can be fastened with an adjustable strap or hooks. Despite the fact that the gloves are made of metal, they provide an appropriate level of hand mobility.
In workplaces, protective masks and appropriate eye or hair protection should also be worn, and in places where loads are handled at height, even special helmets to protect against the effects of a heavy object falling on the head. In the scope of standard hair and face protection, we have a choice of balaclavas, masks, caps and caps. Balaclavas are made of foil and prevent saliva or the hair of people working with it from getting into the food. On the other hand, they protect employees against spreading microorganisms or inhaling hazardous substances. Masks are also useful for this, but they do not provide sufficient protection for the hair. They should then be combined with hair caps or caps, which will also provide thermal comfort. Employees who wear a beard must use special caps that cover it.
We have by far the largest selection in the field of foil clothing, which, although it does not protect against cuts, allows you to maintain an appropriate level of hygiene in the workplace. This type of clothing protects the employee’s clothes from getting wet, dirty and dusty. It also limits the possibility of any items from private clothes getting into food. In addition to foil clothing, you can get great quality foil shoe covers, which are the right choice for outsiders who enter the plant, for work supervisors or employees who do not need toe caps. Foil clothing is the highest level of hygiene, because after the shift is finished, we throw it into the trash. It does not need to be washed, cleaned or disinfected. If we decide to choose foil clothing for the plant, it is also necessary to have dispensers that will hygienically serve individual items of clothing to employees.
Safety shoes for the meat industry must have a composite or steel toecap, which will prevent the foot from being crushed in the event of an accident. It should also be waterproof and have a non-slip sole to reduce the risk of slipping at work. White slip-on or velcro-fastened shoes are standard. You can see all dirt on them, and putting them on and taking them off is very quick and convenient. In addition to fulfilling its specific functions, safety shoes must also be ergonomic and comfortable for the worker. Comfortable shoes are the basis for taking care of the spine and correct posture. They also minimize the risk of degenerative diseases of the spine in the future. Depending on the temperature in the workplace, you can also opt for more airy models or with additional insulation. As it is usually quite cold in industrial plants related to meat processing, employers most often decide to provide their employees with high boots or tied, insulated safety shoes.
Soft footwear made of EVA foam material is recommended for people working in, for example, office positions that are not directly related to processing. Such shoes provide an adequate level of protection against moisture, stabilization, cushioning and thermal comfort.