An employee was cleaning a meat slicer that was turned off but still plugged in. He inadvertently turned the machine on, bumping the on/off switch, resulting in an amputation of his right ring finger.
Food slicers | Safeguarding for Specific Types of Machinery
Food slicers are electrically powered machines typically equipped with a rotary blade, an on/off switch, thickness adjustment, and a food holder or chute. A pushing/guarding device or plunger may be used to apply pressure to the food against the slicer blade, or pressure may be applied by gravity/or by an attachment connected to the food holder.
Figure 1: Meat slicer
Amputations resulting from work with food slicers can occur as follows:
§ When the operator adjusts or services the slicer while it is still operating or while it is switched off but still plugged in or energized. In the latter case, amputations occur when the operator accidentally switches the slicer on.
§ When the operator fails to use the sliding attachment on the food-holding device, especially when slicing small pieces of meat.
§ When the operator hand-feeds food into a chute-fed slicer without using the proper pushing/guarding device or plunger.
Some engineering controls you should use include the following:
§ Install guards that cover the unused portions of the slicer blade on both the top and bottom of the slicer.
§ Buy slicers already equipped with a feeding attachment on the sliding mechanism of the food holder, or purchase the attachment separately and install it prior to use.
§ Provide employees with a plunger for chute-fed slicers that are not equipped with a pushing/guarding device.
Other work practices and administrative controls you can implement for food slicers include appropriate procedures and training. For example, you should:
§ Develop and implement safe operating procedures for slicers and conduct periodic inspections to ensure compliance.
§ Ensure that all operators receive on-the-job training under the direct supervision of experienced operators until they can work safely on their own.
§ Instruct operators to turn off and unplug slicers when not in use or when left unattended for any period of time.
§ Instruct operators to use plungers to feed food into chute-fed slicers. For other slicers, they should use the feeding attachment located on the food-holder. Never place food into the slicer by hand-feeding or hand pressure.
§ Tell operators that, although not required, wire mesh gloves may be worn while operating the slicer or cleaning the slicer’s blade.
§ Instruct operators to retract the slicer blade during cleaning operations.
§ Instruct employees to perform servicing and maintenance activities under an energy control program in accordance with §1910.147.
If the slicer is cord-and-plug connected equipment for which exposure to the hazards of unexpected energization or start up of the equipment is controlled by the unplugging of the equipment from the energy source and by the plug being under the exclusive control of the employee performing the servicing and maintenance, §1910.147 does not apply.
Electrically powered meat grinders typically have a feeding tray attached to a tubular throat, a screw auger that pushes meat to the cutting blade and through the cutting plate, an on/off switch, a reverse switch, and a plunger.
Amputations can occur when:
§ The operator reaches into the throat of the grinder while it is still operating or while it is switched off but still plugged in (energized). In the latter case, amputations occur when the operator accidentally switches the grinder back on.
§ The operator fails to use the attached feeding tray and throat.
Defective meat grinders, such as ones with holes in the throat or screw auger area, are also a source of workplace amputations and must be taken out of service.
In terms of engineering controls, the following are effective:
§ Equip meat grinders with properly sized throats that prevent the operator’s hands from inadvertently reaching the point of operation.
§ Provide operators with properly sized plungers to eliminate the need for their hands to enter the feed throat during operation.
In addition, work practice and administrative controls such as these can help prevent accidents and injuries:
§ Develop and implement safe operating procedures for meat grinders to ensure that the guards are adequate and in place, and that the grinder feeding methods are performed safely. Conduct periodic inspections of grinder operations to ensure compliance.
§ Ensure that all operators receive appropriate on-the-job training under direct supervision of experienced operators until they can work safely on their own.
§ Instruct operators to turn off and unplug grinders when not in use or when left unattended for any period of time.
§ Instruct operators to use the proper plunger device to feed meat into grinders. No other device should be used to feed the grinder.
§ Instruct employees to operate only grinders with feeding trays and throats installed.
§ Instruct operators to use the meat grinder only for its intended purpose.
§ Perform appropriate servicing and maintenance activities under an energy control program in accordance with §1910.147.
If the slicer is a cord and plug connected equipment for which exposure to the hazards of unexpected energization or start up of the equipment is controlled by the unplugging of the equipment from the energy source and by the plug being under the exclusive control of the employee performing the servicing and maintenance, §1910.147 does not apply.
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