Food Processing Apparel
The main priorities in the food processing industry as it relates to safety are the reduction of any possibility of contamination, quality and efficiency.
The potential for contamination is a hazard that is mostly unique to the food processing industry but those workers also face the risk of cuts, punctures and abrasions, cryogenic hazards as well as flash fire.
Food processing apparel is uniquely designed to reduce the potential for contamination and other safety apparel choices are needed to cover every hazard food processing workers may face.
National Safety Apparel’s solutions for food processing apparel and personal protective equipment for workers plants include standards to reduce cross contamination for good manufacturing processes as well as flame resistant protection, cut and cryogenic protection. Contact our customer service team for additional product information, see our Food Processing Apparel brochure or find out how to buy food processing apparel.
Contamination and Flash Fire Hazards
Preventing contamination is one of the top priorities in the food processing industry, which is why food processing safety apparel has be designed with that in mind. There are different design properties to think about and how they could potentially contribute to contamination that may not be considered. In any task or job in a plant or facility, food processing apparel should contribute to cleaner, safer and more productive work areas.
In addition to contamination hazards, food processing plant workers face the risk of flash fire due to combustible dust hazards. Energized equipment that is used throughout the plant for various processes and tasks along with common ingredients like flour, sugar, alfalfa, herbs, hops and pulp can all contribute to combustible dust and flash fire hazards. Flame resistant and flash fire resistant apparel is important for food processing workers to have for protection against all of these potential hazards and issues.
Food processing lab coats have snap or hook and loop closures rather than buttons so buttons cannot fall off and contaminate food. They also do not have pockets or have pockets below the waist so that workers cannot use outside objects that may contaminate any food. Food processing apparel and coats also cannot have loose or hanging pieces which can be a contamination hazard or get caught in a machine.
In addition to their contamination preventative designs, National Safety Apparel’s food processing coats are also flame resistant and UL certified to NFPA 2112 for flash fire to protect against burn injuries in the event combustible dust causes a flash fire in a plant.
Hairnets and beard nets also must be flame resistant when worn so they don’t contribute to burn injuries.
Cut injuries are among the most prevalent in the food processing industry. It’s one of the most important as well because of the risk of large contaminations of batches of food. Cut injuries in the food processing industry can happen from slicing, cutting, chopping, as well as utilizing machinery to automate cutting, canning and other packaging processes.
When machines are involved, protective clothing needs to extend beyond just cut protective as machines mean more mechanical hazards. Food processing safety clothing when using these machines should protect against cut hazards as well as punctures and abrasions that can be caused by these machines at a greater level.
National Safety Apparel’s CutGuard™ K5 line provides cut, puncture and abrasion protection.
Cut resistant gloves are just one part of the equation of protective clothing for food safety, but many processes and operations require food manufacturing workers to wear additional protection. Cut resistant sleeves, jackets, chaps and aprons provide protective clothing options that protect workers with full body coverage.
K5 fabric and CutCuard™ options all meet varying levels of standards and test methods of cut, puncture and abrasion protection.
ANSI 105 is the US standard used to evaluate the levels of cut protection in materials and fabrics, mainly gloves. There are three separate test methods used to determine protection levels for each mechanical hazard - cut, puncture and abrasion, with protection levels ranging from 1-9. ASTM F2992 is for cut, ASTM D3884 tests for abrasion protection level, and EN 388 is the European Standard used for the level of puncture protection.
Protective clothing in food manufacturing for workers against all three cut related hazards is important especially around machines and equipment that is used for large scale processing and operations of these tasks. ANSI 105 makes it easy for safety managers to select gloves and cut protective clothing by following it as a guideline.
Workers in food processing plants are often handling raw foods, preparing them for packaging or further processing. Many products that come into food processing plants are stored at cold temperatures using a variety of methods to store them or freeze them. Flash freezing, immersion freezing, and cryogenic freezing of foods industrially all present thermal hazards such as burn injuries due to exposure to below freezing temperatures and liquids and/or gasses used during some methods.
EN 511 is the European standard for protective gloves against cold temperatures. There are three specific tests administered to asses convective cold, contact cold and water penetration.
National Safety Apparel’s Cryogenic PPE options of gloves meet various levels of convective and contact cold. There are also options for water resistant and waterproof. For tasks in food processing plants that include the use of liquid gasses or immersion for freezing foods or materials, waterproof is the recommended safest option. When selecting cryogenic gloves, remember they should always run a little larger for easy removal in case any potentially harmfully liquid fills up the inside of the glove.
You can find full cryogenic protection kits from National Safety Apparel including gloves, aprons and face shields. Find out how to buy National Safety Apparel products.