The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is closely linked to occupational safety and health (OHS), also in the food industry
In this case, footwear is a fundamental element. Footwear characteristics and benefits must guarantee absolute protection against the risks to which the employee is exposed in these work environments.
Most common occupational hazards in the food sector
Hits and injuries caused by slips and falls are the most frequent reasons why sick leave occurs in the food sector, especially in meat and fish sector. In these cases, using professional footwear whose soles are made of a non-slip material, such as polyurethane or rubber, is recommended. They provide greater grip on wet or slippery surfaces, in places where there are exposed drainage channels…
It should be borne in mind that cleaning and disinfection operations of machinery and equipment are constantly carried out in the food industry. In these work centers, normally, high power electrical installations are needed to supply choppers, peelers, packers, kneaders, conveyor belts… Therefore, it is advisable to use insulating footwear to minimize the risk of damage caused by electrostatic discharges.
Characteristics of boots (PPE) to work in these environments
A good JSA plan in these work environments must therefore contemplate the use of safety footwear (PPE) with non-slip soles and whose manufacturing material is insulating. It is also advisable the footwear to be reinforced, especially for job positions that require handling heavy machinery or very high loads. This kind of shoes protect the feet against hits caused by the fall of objects or against immobile objects. In addition, they provide greater wear resistance and durability.
When to use chemical protection shoes (PPE)?
Burns and scalds caused by the action of hot or corrosive liquids, as well as the handling of cooking equipment, are also very common in the food industry. In these cases, it is recommended to use chemical protection footwear, which safeguard the integrity of the feet against splashes, explosions caused by gas leaks, etc.
This type of footwear is anti-flammable and resists degradation for periods of up to 24 hours when direct contact with aggressive chemicals occurs.
And waterproof footwear?
It is also quite common in the food industry to work under excessively low temperatures, mainly in canning factories. When the operator has to spend a lot of time in cold rooms, it is advisable to wear footwear that, in addition, is waterproof to prevent the feet from getting wet and thus increase the feeling of comfort.