Safety Signs in the Food Industry

The modern democratic world is highly bureaucratic and organized when it comes to safety sign requirements in the commercial arena. It is virtually canonical for insurance companies in developed countries to require the presence of industry-specific and/or general safety signs in work areas as part of their insurance policies.

This is especially applicable to the food industry, which on top of containing specific potential dangers to employees, additional care has to be taken to avoid food contamination, which can harm customers and thus result in a number of different lawsuits.

Businesses in the food service industry, such as restaurants, cafe'’s, movie theaters and other institutions that store and serve food are legally bound to maintain serving areas clean and sterile. Employees who handle food themselves are as well required to wash their hands on a regular basis, before entering work and after breaks and disposing of trash from the premises, a law especially relevant for those who smoke.

OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, eagerly points out that food illnesses, which are often erroneously referred to as food poisoning, include more than 250 food borne diseases all caused by viruses, bacteria, toxins, parasites metals or prions. Some of more commonly-known food borne diseases include:

  • Brucellosis
  • Campylobacter enteritis
  • Escherichia coli
  • Hepatitis A
  • Listeriosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Shigellosis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Viral gastroenteritis
  • Taeniasis
  • Trichinosis

General environmental controls set forth by OSHA include prohibitions against smoking in the facility near or around food, such as in preparation rooms or the kitchen. Regarding sanitation referring to water, Section 1910.141(b)(1)(i) states that “Potable water shall be provided in all places of employment, for drinking, washing of the person, cooking, washing of foods, washing of cooking or eating utensils, washing of food preparation or processing premises, and personal service rooms.”

Section 1910.242(a), referring to the operation of on-the-site equipment, states that “Each employer shall be responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees, including tools and equipment which may be furnished by employees.” In the food industry this refers to equipment used to slice meat or cheese, large industrial can openers with sharp spikes used to puncture metal, flexible faucets that can heat water to scolding temperatures, machinery that uses gas, such as ovens and large storage freezers with heavy doors that can capture and injure fingers.

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