A culture of safety is everything. Food manufacturers have been tasked with the responsibility of preventing foodborne illness in their facilities for years.  The concept of HACCP was developed in the 60’s when NASA collaborated with Pillsbury to provide safe food for the astronauts.  This novel concept began to be recommended in the 90’s and became mandatory in 2006.  Finally, in 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act became the law of the land.

A HACCP plan is a minimum, going beyond the bare minimum and implementing a top down culture of food safety is where food companies are separating themselves in the marketplace. 

Food companies know their customers better than ever and the message they’re hearing is clear: CUSTOMERS WANT SAFE FOOD!

That’s great, and we all love safe food, but why do the employees at these food processing plants sustain 60% more injuries than non-food related industries?  

The simple answer? There isn’t a top down approach to employee safety in most food plants.  Sure, there are some exceptions to the rule. However, most companies aren’t paying as much attention to employee safety as food safety because the data isn’t clear on the impact of injured workers on their bottom line. 

bureau of labor and statistics
recordable cases, days off work, job transfer

Workplace injuries cost money.  There’s the direct impact on your experience mod and even more costly are the indirect costs.  The indirect cost of a claim is at minimum 2x the cost paid on the claim itself.  

There must be an industry shift away from the ideas of employee safety culture and food safety culture to one of a culture of safety.  The new Culture of Safety understands that for employees to make safe, healthy food for your customers, they must be safe and healthy.  

How?  Utilize the same concepts you use to identify critical control points for food safety to identify critical control points that could lead to employee injury.  Every food processor is already a risk manager and all this requires is a simple understanding that food safety and employee safety cannot exist without the other.  

 

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