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5 tips to maximise stair safety in food manufacturing facilities

5 tips to maximise stair safety in food manufacturing facilities

The food manufacturing industry of Australia presents a face-paced, standards conscience industry, fraught with risks and challenges like no other.

Stairs present additional challenges, particularly when they lead into or out of a production area. They can become slippery very easily, causing additional risks to stair safety. Working in this industry, we’ve seen the challenges with stair safety, and understand the need for safe, hygiene-friendly solutions that decrease the risks of slips, trips and falls downstairs.

Our 5 tips to maximise stair safety:

  1. Ensure there is adequate lighting: Lighting goes a long way towards maximising stair safety. It ensures clear visibility so employees know when the stairs are slippery or hazardous.
  2. Maximise slip resistance: Whatever the food manufacturing sector your facility operates in, walking onto stairs with food/beverage products on your boots will increase the slipperiness of the stairs. We highly recommend coating your stairs with a polyurethane cement slip resistant coating such as SteriFloor Starke or SteriFloor Beschutzen. Another alternative coating solution is a two-pack, water based acrylic copolymer coating, which has excellent adhesion to surfaces like stainless steel and other metals.
  3. Don’t forget stair nosing’s: Stair nosing’s are an excellent way to safe-guard slip resistance on the stairs. They can be easily added over the top of a slip resistant coating, as seen in the image below.
  4. Include adequate railings to meet Australian Standards: As with any staircase, railings are essential, but particularly useful in food manufacturing facilities where the risk of slipping is much greater. The Australian Standards state that the top of the handrail must be not less than 865mm or greater than 1000mm from the nosing of a stair or the plane of the finished floor level on a ramp, walkway or landing. These standards must be met at all times, including internally.
  5. Consider a Boot/Sole wash prior to entering stairs: This is a particularly useful solution when stairs come off production rooms in bakeries, meat and smallgood processing facilities, and other similar manufacturers, as employee’s boots will carry food product on them, which will increase the slipperiness of the stairs. There are a couple of options when it comes to boot/sole wash units, typically varying based on traffic, cost, and the food being manufactured.

 

Case Study: Production exit staircase at a large small goods manufacturing facility

This project involved the upgrade of production exit staircases, which were too slippery and dangerous. Employees entered the stairs, after working in a production area with food product on their boots.

This only increased the slipperiness of the stairs. In order to change this, we removed all existing slip resistant measures, and installed our own two pack, water based acrylic copolymer coating to the stairs with an incorporated slip resistant film.

The company also set up a boot wash walk through prior to entering the stairs to ensure only clean boots entered the stairs. This project excelled expectations and has significantly increased safety in the area.

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