PSSI’s Food Safety Sanitors were struggling to clean the high bench areas of beef processing facilities safely and consistently. Working on high benches can be hazardous due to their height and the nature of how they need to be cleaned, especially if the anchor tie points aren’t placed appropriately for sanitation purposes.
Because of their height, cleaning high benches incorrectly or without proper fall protection can put sanitors at risk of experiencing injuries associated with falls. In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics named slips, trips and falls as the second leading cause of non-fatal workplace injuries and the third leading cause of fatal workplace accidents.
Remote Video Auditing (RVA) is a program that monitors and measures behaviors to provide optimal safety performance feedback. It was introduced to PSSI cleaned facilities with high benches in late 2021.
Cameras in the plant are monitored by a third-party audit center as they review all videos weekly and look for motion or activity that goes against the safety SOPs that were created for high bench cleaning. Any activity that does not match the SOP, such as improper movement on the high benches, unsafe positioning or fall protection PPE is not present, is flagged and a video clip of the coaching opportunity is sent to PSSI’s Site Manager. That footage is then used as an opportunity to coach and train on proper safety behaviors. Being able to visually show the sanitor their observed behavior helps them see, learn and understand what they need to correct to work safer.
In some cases, modifications to the facility or equipment were needed to achieve optimal safety in the high bench workspace. Although the customer’s food production workers use the same high benches, they have different practices and movements in that space compared to how high benches are used during sanitation. In some facilities, more harness points were requested and installed to prevent sanitation workers from having to unhook and re-hook as often while using the high benches. One plant decided to run a cable all the way across the high bench so sanitation team members could have the flexibility they need to foam and scrub without having to re-hook frequently.
Since implementing the RVA program in high bench facilities, PSSI went from having coaching opportunities one out of every 12 audits to having one opportunity every 5,438 audits. These sanitation teams have also seen a significant reduction in their overall OSHA recordable rates since introducing the RVA program.
Overall, since November 2021, the beef plants that are part of the RVA high bench pilot project have seen a 99.5% decrease in high bench potential safety occurrences. This downward trend continues to demonstrate the positive shift in PSSI’s safety culture.
While RVA was introduced to the sanitation process for safety purposes, PSSI is exploring other ways to use the technology to enhance their food safety programs, continuous improvement projects and sustainability initiatives.