Reducing the risk of meat slicer injuries
In 2016, six serious incidents involving injury from meat slicers occurred in Manitoba's three largest grocery chains. These injuries took place while a worker was either cleaning the meat slicer or reaching across the slicer blade. None occurred while the operator was slicing meat. In one case, the worker was cleaning the slicer while wearing mesh gloves; after removing the gloves, the worker noticed something on the blade and tried to remove it, causing a laceration.
Meat slicer injuries can range from minor to major cuts and amputation of fingers. Contributing to the risk of injury are lack of training, improper use of guards and failure to wear protective gloves.
For every workplace in which a machine or tool is used, the employer must develop and implement safe work procedures, as outlined in Part 16 of the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Regulation. For assistance in developing these procedures, visit SAFE Work Procedure Templates
SAFE Work Manitoba reminds employers that they must:
- develop and implement written safe work procedures for the meat slicer
- ensure that all workers who use the meat slicer are trained in these safe work procedures
- make sure all workers comply with the safe work procedures.
- Use guards and guides at all times.
- Secure the meat properly and ensure proper settings before slicing.
- Do not reach across the blade.
- After use and before removing any product, turn off the slicer and return the settings to zero.
- Unplug the slicer before cleaning it and ensure all power is off.
- Use cut-resistant gloves when cleaning the slicer.
- Keep hands, arms, hair and loose clothing away from all moving parts.
- For additional measures, review: Bulletin 296 - Operating and Cleaning Meat Slicers.