From raw materials, through manufacturing, storage, distribution and retail, the cold chain keeps food goods safe and prevents waste. The nature of a cold store provides the potential for increased accidents.
Ice, freezing surfaces and condensation can all increase the risks of slips trips and falls to operators, as well as performance and handling risks for manual handling equipment. Low temperatures can cause slower mental reactions and reduce dexterity skills whilst bulky personal protective equipment can inhibit the safe undertaking of even the most basic of tasks. Businesses must have comprehensive inspection and maintenance regimes in place for all internal elements of their cold store.
SG World work with many supermarket logistics chains across the UK, providing pre-use inspection systems for forklifts, racking and other manual handling equipment. An integral element of our inspection range is a high-vis, plastic paddle displaying the status of the checked equipment. Everyone can instantly see if a piece of equipment passed or failed inspection before use. Normal plastic would become brittle and snap if regularly exposed to temperatures below freezing. Consequently, we have experimented with different plastic blends introducing a high anti-freeze additive which helps the paddles maintain their strength and flexibility. Typically used by operators using thick gloves, a paddle to be flexible in order to withstand a bit of rough handling.
As well as being suitable for the UK cold chain we are also finding our international markets need inspection solutions for demanding, native climates. Richard Nichols, SG World Global Sales and Marketing Director gives an example from the USA:
“Our inspection product needs to be suitable for regular exposure to sub-zero conditions in the US northern states. However, if we look at our southern market places like Florida, our status indicator paddles are also very good at dealing with rapid temperature fluctuations. It all adds up to a practical, robust pre-use safety inspection solution that's easy to use and easy to monitor being used."