Meat slicers are an essential tool for any deli, grocery store or supermarket, as well as many restaurants, allowing for precisely sliced and sized meats and cheeses. Used incorrectly and without caution, however, they can seriously injure employees.
A study over a four-year period found meat slicers accounted for more than 700 restaurant worker injuries and 100,000 days of lost work. Capable of spinning at tremendous speeds, the machine’s sharp blade is an ever-present danger to any employee operating it, even when it’s powered off.
Providing the proper training and equipment is the best way of dulling employees’ chance of injury. Teach these small details to cut down on potential problems:
- Make sure the machine’s operator is at least 18 years of age.
- Test the worker’s knowledge of the machine before allowing them to use it.
- Require cut-resistant gloves be worn at all times—both while operating the device and when cleaning it.
- Keep the work area free of clutter. This will make the operation much safer and quicker.
- Stress focus. Eyes should be kept on the tool at all times.
- Remind workers never to push meat with bare hands. Provide a food pusher or tamper to push the food toward the blade.
- Instruct employees to never reach across the slicer. They should turn it off and walk around it to access the other side.
- Necessitate that the blade be locked when not in use. It should be turned off and unplugged before the blade is moved to the “zero” or locked position.
- Forbid tampering with the safety switch. This is a vital component of the meat slicer.
Poor knife handling can also result in serious injuries that harm your business. Check out our blog post on how to prevent and treat cuts to keep your employees safe as they slice. For workers compensation coverage tailored to your business—including grocery stores and restaurants—contact your local independent Society agent.