Tips to Keep Your Bakery Safe
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Posted by Paige N. on June 28, 2019 in Acuity

Did you know that June is National Safety Month? This is the perfect time to review your bakery’s procedures to ensure you are following best safety practices. A great place to start is reviewing the leading causes of injury in bakeries. 

 

According to OSHA, the top injuries for retail bakeries are: 

 

  • Struck by object
  • Caught in object/equipment/material
  • Fall on the same level
  • Overexertion in lifting or lowering
  • Exposure to harmful substance or environment

 

Fortunately, a few simple solutions can help prevent many of these injuries. In this post, we will give you tips for how you can keep yourself safe while working at your bakery.

 

  • Struck by object and caught in object. Bakery equipment, like large mixers, can cause injury if you get struck or caught in it. To mitigate these injuries:
    • Keep your equipment in good condition and follow the safety precautions on the equipment.
    • Ensure proper safeguarding of moving parts such as conveyors, mixers, and rollers with covers, barriers, and enclosures.
    • Establish effective lockout procedures and train employees in these procedures.
    • Place warning signs on equipment with moving parts.
  • Fall on the same level. Also known as slip and fall, these injuries are quite common in bakeries due to ingredients like water, flour, and batter that can fall on the floor and become slippery or sticky. Supplies kept on the floor can also create a tripping hazard. Fortunately, preventing slip and fall injuries is relatively simple. Here are a few tips:
    • Clean floors regularly and quickly clean up ingredient spills with a mop or high-efficiency vacuum.
    • Use anti-slip mats and wear anti-slip shoes to reduce the likelihood of taking a spill.
    • Regularly degrease floors.
    • Keep supplies off the ground, especially in higher-traffic areas.
    • Ensure adequate lighting.
    • Review your bakery’s workflow to ensure you can easily move from one area to the next with nothing in the way that could cause a stumble.
  • Overexertion in lifting or lowering. Making large quantities of items requires large quantities of ingredients! Not following proper lifting techniques can lead to injuries—particularly back injuries. Here are a few tips for handling heavy loads:
    • Lift heavy bags and loads in pairs rather than alone.
    • Use small containers for ingredients, so they are more portable.
    • Use a cart to move heavy loads from place to place.
    • Hold items close to your middle when transporting them to avoid straining your back.
  • Exertion may result from repetitive motion as well, which can be mitigated via proper ergonomics. Here are a few ways to work in an ergonomically safe way:
    • Use a step stool to reduce reaching when obtaining objects at heights.
    • Store items between knee and shoulder height to minimize reaching.
    • Work on the long side of baking sheets to reduce reaching.
    • Use shorter-handled scoops to reduce wrist strain.
    • Design baking areas to minimize manual handling by using conveyors, lifts, and automation when possible.
    • Use adjustable worktables to accommodate proper body posture and working heights.
  • Exposure to harmful substance or environment. Working in a bakery can lead to harmful substance exposure, burns, and hot working conditions. Here are a few risk factors and ways to mitigate them:
    • Flour dust can cause a multitude of harmful reactions, such as asthma, a runny nose, weepy eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, and even skin irritation. Here are a few tips for avoiding negative side effects of flour dust:
      • Use a high-efficiency vacuum to clean up flour rather than sweeping.
      • Keep your kitchen well-ventilated.
      • Avoid dust clouds by starting mixers at low levels and using an enclosed mixer if possible.
      • When transferring flour, use a scoop rather than pouring.
      • Wear long sleeves and gloves to prevent skin contact with dough and flour buildup.
    • Burns are also a risk factor when working with boiling water, hot ingredients, and hot surfaces like trays and pans. To mitigate burn risk:
      • Always use heat-resistant mitts when moving hot items.
      • Avoid splashing hot substances when transporting or pouring them.
      • Wear burn and hot liquid splash protection PPE such as gloves, aprons, and safety glasses.
      • Keep an eyewash station and first-aid kit readily available.
    • Working conditions are hot in bakeries. Beat the heat by wearing breathable fabrics, keeping the kitchen well-ventilated and cool, and staying hydrated. 

 

Sources:

Paige N.
Paige N. came to Acuity in 2015 as a commercial lines underwriter. Through her time in underwriting, she worked on a wide array of accounts, many in the service industry, including: automobile repair shops, apartments, beauty shops, and everything in between. In addition to her underwriting experience, Paige worked in advertising and is studying to obtain the Associate in General Insurance (AINS) designation. Thanks to her father, Paige drives a manual transmission and finds driving a manual much more fun than an automatic!


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