Here in Nigeria we have more of small and medium bakery plants which produce various bakery products, These manufacturers might not be equipped financially to implement all necessary safety requirement. It is however the responsibility of the bakery owners to ensure that safety standards are adhered to in their plants. Safety could be classified into personal safety, fire safety and electrical safety.
Slip, trips and falls; major reasons for these are spillages all around production hall. Oil spillages and Water are the common reason. The major accident prone area is premixing where maximum spillages occurs. Slippery Tiles can also cause trips and falls
Flooring could also result in trip and fall as material handling could be done through pallet trucks and trolleys. In case of uneven flooring, the tendency of pallets and trolleys would be to upturn which again causes accidents, hence proper flooring is required in these Plants.
Loading and Unloading Heavy bags of sugar and flour ;– heavy bags loaded and unloaded manually may cause permanent damage to the Spine . Mechanical conveyors, Bucket elevators, Screw conveyors, Pneumatic conveyors or Bulk Handling system ( i.e. Transfer of raw material directly from tankers to Silos) will eliminate manual loading and unloading.
Noise; This is another problem which may cause deafness among workers as they work continuously in area where you have continuous mechanical sound, like Mixers, Compressors , Generators , Blowers of Oven , Vibratory sifters , Grinders etc. Ear plugs are the best remedy
Odour ;– This is another important personal health safety issue in bakeries. The major problems come from ammonia odour which when inhaled in large quantity can cause breathing problem. Scrubber for ammonia can minimize the effect. We can arrange respirators for these workers
Dust; This is a unique problem for bakery units. You can find Flour dust and Sugar Dust in many of bakeries. These may cause breathing problem, like asthma. These are generated at grinders, sifters and Mixers. Explosions can occur in these sites if proper electrostatic arrestors are not provided.
Heavy Loads of machinery: There are many equipment which may cause accident due to shifting or change over. For example, molder, cutters , Oven bands , conveyors etc . Forklifts must be employed in such factories.
Cuts and Burns: These are most common minor injuries in bakery plants. Burns at places like oven, boiler and heaters from packing machines and sealers. Explosion and fire has been reported from biscuit ovens from many plants. Explosion safety sheets are provided to release pressure building inside ovens.
Cuts happens when operators are not careful and attentive during process of packing of products as it involves knifes and cutters. Maintenance people normally are careless. Burns may happen at pre mixing section where operators have to handle some chemicals. Protective gloves are to be provided while handling hot objects.
Asbestosis: Many of these bakery factories roof sheds are made up of asbestos sheets which may cause asbestosis. Sheets should be changed to metallic sheets.
Heat is another source of health risk as workers are exposed to higher temperatures while working near high ovens temperatures. Ventilation and fresh air supply is to be maintained in these areas.
Bakery industry has many inflammable materials which can cause fire hazards. Such materials are as follows:
Packaging material - Wrapper, Card board boxes (CBBS) and laminates. Storages and waste are main factor of any fire.
Ovens; These are main fire hazards in bakery unit
LPG /HSD/LDO – fuel storage tanks are also source of fire hazards. Safety standards have to be maintained as per Petroleum Act.
Electrical loose wiring or short circuit can be a reason for fire hazards.
Every bakery plant needs to put fire hydrant system in the factory premises to handle fire emergency. Normal fire safety inventories like fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, heat detectors should be installed in the factory area.
Electrical safety requires proper instillation of transformers, cable trays and panels in the factory
Cables needs to be insulated with no loose wiring in the factory. Maintenance of switch gears.
Properly trained electrical personnel to be recruited for maintenance job. Proper safety loops to be designed during switchgear installation hence to protect any major damage to the electrical installation.
Eliminating risky operation through mechanization and automation, taking precautions like safety guards, Safety interlocking. With safety audits, manufacturers can avert major accidents. Providing enough fire extinguishers ,exits routes , emergency lights , drills, training and signages can prevent major accidents
Most of the bakery manufacturers do not invest in the safety equipment and other protective equipment for short term benefits but which in longer term may prove counterproductive. Adopting food safety programs like ISO22000, EMS ISO14000 , GMP,HACCP and OSHA 18000 ensures that the companies are following standard procedures for safety of its personnel and property . Consumers should be aware of these standards and encourage those companies which have these standards implemented in their factories.