Safety when slicing – an interview with Bizerba
The prevention of accidents is an essential part of the successful running of a company. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has established that injury through cutting oneself in professional kitchens and in retail is the type of accident that occurs most frequently. Employers are legally obliged to ensure safety in the workplace.
Employers are legally obliged to ensure safety in the workplace. What is Bizerba doing to help them?
Employees cut and injure themselves when operating or cleaning devices. The demand we place on our slicers is that there should be no chance of the user injuring themselves through carelessness. We distinguish between three machine states that pose very specific challenges in terms of design: stand-by mode, slicing mode and cleaning mode.
So the designers have ensured that the machine doesn’t pose a risk of injury even when on stand-by?
Exactly. What we first have to mention here is the blade protection ring, which protects the part of the blade that doesn’t slice. It is a single part that is fixed in place and cannot be removed. If the stop plate is also in the safety position, the slice thickness setting is negative and the blade is completely covered, so it has more or less disappeared. This means that there is no chance of injury whatsoever, not even when you move or transport the machine.
The next point is the grinder. Many of our competitors use a fixed sharpening attachment. If you remove it for cleaning, the blade is unprotected at this point and represents a risk of injury. We use a separate attachment. As soon as you remove it, you can put the stop plate straight back into the safety position, which is an obvious safety advantage.
The slicing mode is naturally more dangerous. What safety precautions have you taken?
Naturally, we provide an end cut pusher plate which works well for even the smallest product ends, meaning that employees don’t even think of feeding the piece to be sliced in by hand. The pusher site sits steadily in the carriage and fixes the object to be sliced in place. This means that the employee doesn’t need to move anything by hand during slicing. The back wall of the carriage is also higher so that you can’t touch the blade by accident. Thus, the hands are protected throughout the entire slicing process. The off switch is also easily accessible in an emergency.
That leaves the cleaning mode. What challenges did the designers have to overcome here?
When cleaning it is important to fold back the carriage plate. However, this only works when you have already put the stop plate into the safety position. This is one of the machine’s mechanical rules which cannot be outsmarted. In this position, the blade is also completely covered. This means you can start removing the components without ever coming into contact with the blades slicing surface. The fact that we use a separate sharpening attachment that is not fixed in place is an additional hygiene advantage and sets us clearly apart from the competition. Here it is clear that hygiene and safety often go hand in hand. Generally speaking, the machine mustn’t be a mystery to the user. All functions must be intuitive.