Hazards in the Food & Beverage Industry
It is generally assumed that the injuries incurred in the food and beverage industry are relatively inconsequential. However, facts show that two million workers employed in these operations do have dangerous jobs.
Food service operations have accident and illness rates as high as industries that are commonly thought of as being hazardous places to work. These operations, like any other, present a number of hazards that can result in accidents, injuries and illnesses.
Stressful and hazardous work environments in the food and beverage industry lead to bruised knuckles and minor cuts that reduce production rates and heighten production errors. Human error frequently results from working under hot, noisy and extremely fast-paced conditions which are ever present in many food and beverage operations.
Sprains and strains account for most lost-time injuries. Floor surfaces, knives, hot water, containers, metal stock and conveyors were the primary causes of all injuries. More than 30 percent* of the injuries resulted from slips (not falls) and overexertion.
The average lost workdays per injury amounted to 17.9. However, of all the accident causes, the greatest number of average days lost were caused by cutting and slicing machines. The average was 167.7 days lost per injury.
The food and beverage industry, on a national scale for occupational injury and illness incidence rates, ranks last and worst, respectively, in the incidence of lost workdays. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, eight out of every 1,000 workers in food processing jobs reported cases of occupational illnesses, with three cases involving lost workdays. Health problems consisted of skin diseases and disorders, respiratory problems, poisoning and disease from physical agents.
Nationally, the highest rate of injury was observed in the meat product operations. Nonpowered, (knives, etc.) and electric hand devices resulted in cuts, wounds, amputations, electrocutions, tenosynovitis, falls and strains. The high injury rates found in the beverage manufacturing operations were from material handling strains, wet work areas and misuse of chemicals.
Because of the dangers involved in the food and beverage industry, it
is essential that accident safety records are properly taken and are analyzed
by safety personnel so meaningful accident prevention methods can be established.
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
For further information or to request consultation, education
and training services
CET- 0108 (Rev. 8/00)