Safety Guide for Electric Meat Slicers
For those having to work with meat, especially in commercial volumes, the electric meat slicer is a heaven-sent tool. With one of these, any individual can easily cut or package meat in less time and with better precision. While electric meat slicers have traditionally been more common in butcher shops and meat processing companies, newer lightweight models are now available for everyday use in a common kitchen.
These come in handy especially when you prefer to slice meat yourself or when using a knife is too tasking, for example in cases of arthritis and hand impairments.
Like any other machine, an electric meat slicer requires special factors to be taken into consideration before, during and after use. Depending on the situation under which it is to be used, these safety guides may fall under three distinct groups:
- Installation and location
- Personnel training and usage
- Maintenance and storage
Installation and location:
It’s important to ensure that the machine to be installed is actually accessible without creating too much change in the operations line. Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing the best spot for the machine:
- Open space away from any stacked objects
- An electric meat slicer is operated by an electric motor which turns a steel blade. This by itself creates vibrations once it’s running. Grinding bones, which are common in meat, will exponentially increase the vibrations. As a result, it is of utmost importance to keep the slicer away from any objects that may fall due to these vibrations.
- Another reason why you would need open space is the actual accessibility of the machine. You don’t want cases where workers have to maneuver around carrying meat only to end up in a squeezed area to operate the machine. This raises the probability of accidents occurring.
- Solid and level working area
- The slicer should be placed on a table or bench that is strong enough to hold the weight without movement and also flat to prevent movement. This ensures safety while using the machine and also prevents damages in terms of breakage in case of falling.
- A middle height bench is best recommended to avoid bending too much or creating strain from reaching when it’s placed too high. A perfect height will reduce cases of accidents. Also, be careful of overstretching while moving the meat around, as this might result in back pains.
- Overhead power cable installation and arm level switches
- To avoid tripping over cables running on the floor it’s advisable to install all sockets overhead. This will ensure that cables don’t lay on the floor where they might also be subject to wear and tear. It’s also common to have wet floors especially while cleaning, this can be hazardous as the cables might lose insulation, creating risk of electrocution. The switches should be at arm’s length where one might access them immediately in case of emergency.
Personnel training and awareness:
They say knowledge is power, knowing how to safely use an electric meat slicer will go a long way in ensuring accident-free working conditions. A good guide to ensure that all personnel are aware of what to do should include:
- Only people with proper authorization should operate the slicer
- To prevent unknowingly injuring yourself never operate the slicer if you are not authorized to do so. Improper usage may lead to damages to both the machine and the meat, this is a rather expensive affair due to the costs involved in repair the machine and replacing the damaged products.
- Use of safety equipment at all times
- To prevent sustaining cuts, anyone operating the machine should wear cut resistant gloves at all times. These will prevent any major cuts in case the hands run into contact with the blade.
- Anyone operating the slicer should avoid using their hands to apply pressure to the meat, instead use the weight handle. This is because a sudden slip while applying pressure can result in some serious injuries. In the case of blockages always switch off the machine and unplug before attempting to remove the blockage.
- Avoid distractions
- It’s never a good idea to multi-task while using any power tool, the same applies to the meat slicer. To avoid losing concentration anyone operating the machine should pay full attention to the task at hand. A split-second loss of focus could result in either serious injuries or uneven product which is a loss.
- Ensuring that there is an emergency protocol in place
- While this might seem like an overkill, it is important to have a set guide as to what to do when “so and so” happens. Workers should know what to do in case of malfunctioning equipment, or in worst case scenario what to do when an accident occurs. While not many slicer related accidents are fatal, a few such as limb loss can be. To prevent any permanent loss having a quick action guide as to what to do will go a long way in preventing such occurrences.
Maintenance and storage:
A well-maintained machine is not only more durable but also more secure in terms of accidents occurring. After use, the slicer should be cleaned thoroughly to remove any leftovers and wiped down to and stored in a dry condition to prevent rusting. Some of the other basic steps for maintaining a slicer in perfect condition include:
- Sharpening blades and replacing any worn-out ones
- A sharp blade will ensure continuous consistency of the cut products thereby providing equally cut meat that is also void of any ruggedness. Also, a sharp blade will provide faster operations thereby reducing the overall bills.
- Oiling moveable parts
- The carriage bar needs regular oiling to reduce friction during operation. Also, other parts such as the joints will require regular oiling but in controlled amounts to avoid overflows.
- Cleaning the blade
- A clean blade not only provides good hygiene but also prevents it from rusting. To ensure that the blade’s clean, always clean the blade after using the slicer and remember to wipe it with a little machine oil if you are storing the meat slicer.
Having an electric meat slicer is always a new experience especially if you are coming from the previous age of using knives. The machine will not only save you time but will also ensure consistency in terms of meat size. The above guide should ensure that you have an easy time working with the slicer.