Floor Mats for BakeriesAn Industry Specific Buyer's Guide
The U.S. (and world) has a love affair with baked goods. What would we do without our doughnuts, cakes, and sweet rolls in the morning? The American Bakers Association reports the baking industry employs almost 800,000 skilled individuals, generates more than $44 billion in direct wages, and has an overall economic impact of over $153 billion. According to the Houston Chronicle, the market for baked goods is expected to grow around one percent per annum in the coming decade.
Types of Hazards in a Commercial Bakery
The commercial bakery industry faces similar safety challenges as seen in commercial kitchens. Like commercial kitchens, most accidents in bakeries are due to slip, trip, and fall hazards. In addition to fall injuries, commercial bakers are at risk of injury from overexertion and contact with objects and equipment.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that these injured types are the top three leading causes of work-related injuries and account for more than 84 percent of all nonfatal injuries involving days away from work.
Here are the specific hazards employees face in a commercial bakery:
- Slips, trips, and falls caused by wet floors, spillage of dough, and other wet ingredients, as well as flour. Uneven or poorly maintained floor surfaces can also lead to tripping accidents. Falls from heights when loading/unloading vehicles or when accessing items from tall shelves in storage.
- Lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling heavy loads can put workers at risk for muscle and back injuries.
- Knives, graters, and other sharp kitchen tools can cause cut and puncture injuries.
- Burns, scalds, and heat stress from cooking surfaces and boiling liquids.
- Breathing in large amounts of flour dust puts employees at risk for lung-related ailments as well as such as nose, throat, and eye irritation.
- Machinery such as dough mixers, dough brakes, and dough dividers can cause injuries if used incorrectly.
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Bakery Health and Safety Regulations
Establishing a safety program in your commercial bakery is an effective way to protect your workers and your business’s bottom line. Implementing a safety culture in your commercial bakery takes a bit of planning and the right safety equipment. An easy way to start is with a bakery safety checklist. OSHA sets the guidelines to help you proactively instill safety measures that will keep the bakery’s day-to-day operations safe for employees.
Here are some key points that should be bakery inspection checklists:
- Flooring: Clear of obstructions. Non-slip flooring mats added to areas prone to spills.
- Machine: Equipped with protection guards to prevent accidents while in operation. Cutting machines should have covers to avoid unintended slicing.
- Equipment: Ergonomically positioned for operation.
- Ovens: Easily accessible buttons, switches, and circuit breakers in cases of emergency and regularly scheduled inspection by an expert.
Preventing Slip and Fall Hazard
Since slip and fall hazards account for the majority of work-related injuries, preventing them should be a top priority. Thankfully, adding simple kitchen floor mats and drainage mats to your commercial bakery can significantly reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Rubber floor mats feature a non-slip surface that provides traction and a comfortable standing surface for employees. Adding baker floor mats keep walking surfaces and footwear dry, reducing the chances of a slip or fall. Best of all, once the workday is over, the mats can be lifted to access the floor for cleaning and easily rinsed for cleaning.
For areas that are at risk for spills from water or food debris, a commercial kitchen mat with drainage holes will allow liquids and debris to pass through matting. These mats also provide an anti-slip and anti-fatigue surface that will keep your workers safe and comfortable during their shift.
Keep Employees Comfortable with Anti-Fatigue Floor Mats
Bakers spend most of their time on their feet. According to researchers at Loughborough University, 90 minutes of standing on hard surfaces can cause serious discomfort to the feet, hands, legs, and cause stiffness in the neck and shoulders .
The study also revealed that using anti-fatigue kitchen mats reduces the discomfort of workers who stand for long periods. Using anti-fatigue mats with non-slip surfaces in a commercial bakery will have the added benefit of keeping employees safe and comfortable.
Although there are many types of risk to workers in a commercial bakery, there are plenty of preventative measures that may be taken to reduce them. Keeping your employees safe and healthy while at work is not as hard as it seems with a little planning and the proper safety equipment.
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