Hazards of Food Slicers
 Hazards of Food Slicers
Food slicers are electrically powered machines typically equipped with a rotary blade, an on/off switch, thickness adjustment, and a food holder or chute. A pushing/guarding device or plunger may be used to apply pressure to the food against the slicer blade, or pressure may be applied by gravity and/or by an attachment connected to the food holder. holding device, especially when slicing small pieces of meat. •
When the operator hand‐feeds food into a chute‐fed slicer without using the proper pushing/guarding device or plunger. Case History #1 Two employees, an operator and an assistant, were using a meat slicer to slice turkey. The assistant was holding a box of turkey in a tilted position while the operator fed the turkey into the slicer. The operator removed the guard from the meat slicer because the turkey kept jamming. The slicer's knives caught the operator's glove and pulled his hand into the knives, amputating his finger just above the nail. Case History #2 An employee was cleaning a meat slicer that was turned off but was still plugged in. He inadvertently turned the machine on by bumping the on/off switch, resulting in an amputation of his right ring finger. Amputations resulting from work with food slicers can occur as follows: •
When the operator adjusts or services the slicer while it is still operating or while it is switched off but still plugged in, or energized. In the latter case, amputations occur when the operator accidentally switches the slicer on. When the operator fails to use the sliding attachment on the food‐
Page 1 of 2 | Food Slicer Hazards
Safeguarding and Other Controls for Food Slicers The OSHA Machine Guarding Standard (29 CFR 1910.21) requires employers to protect machine operators from hazards created by point of operation, in going nip points, rotating parts, and flying chips and sparks. Any worker that can come in contact with any moving part of a machine, such as a blade, sprocket, or chain, or can be injured by a flying part must be protected by a machine guard. •
Use warning signs to alert employees of the hazard and safety instructions. •
Instruct operators to use plungers to feed food into chute‐fed slicers. For other slicers, they should use the feeding attachment located on the food‐holder. •
Slicers should be equipped with a feeding attachment on the sliding mechanism of the food holder. Never place food into the slicer by hand‐feeding or hand pressure. •
Employers should instruct employees to use a pushing/guarding device with chute‐fed slicers. Instruct operators to retract the slicer blade during cleaning operations. •
Instruct operators to turn off and unplug slicers when not in use or when left unattended for any period of time. •
Perform servicing and maintenance under an energy control program in accordance with the Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), 29 CFR 1910.147, standard. Food slicers must be used with guards that cover the unused portions of the slicer blade on both the top and bottom of the slicer. Examples of secondary safeguarding methods, work practices and complementary equipment that may be used to supplement primary safeguarding or alone or in combination when primary safeguarding methods are not feasible: •
Develop and implement safe work (operating) procedures for slicers and conduct periodic inspections to ensure compliance. Ensure that all operators receive on‐the‐job training under the direct supervision of experienced operators until they can work safely on their own. Page 2 of 2 | Food Slicer Hazards
NOTE: You can avoid slicer lockout/tagout if the equipment is cord‐and‐plug connected equipment, simply by having exclusive control over the attachment plug after you shut the slicer off and unplug it from the energy source. 
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