BladeStop Safety Technology Reduces Risk to Abattoir Workers

Automated meat processing technology is improving safety & reducing injuries for employees in the industry, while reducing down time and compensation claims.

BladeStop bandsaws provide improved safety for employees in the global meat processing industry, while also providing the added benefits of cutting down lost production time and reducing claims from injuries.

In a 2020 report by Worksafe Australia machinery operators were among the top 3 most dangerous professions, while people working in manufacturing (including of food products such as meat) made up 12% of all serious injury claims in 2017-18, the second most dangerous industry. However, technology like BladeStop and other safety systems are helping to cut down serious injuries and compensation claims with the report showing that there has been a decrease in up to 28% in claims of this nature since 2008.

Further to this, the same 2020 Worksafe Australia report also showed that 38% of workplace injuries involving an object hitting a human were responsible for claims involving the hand, fingers or thumb, while that number increases to 57% when it is the human accidentally hitting an object e.g. a saw. Because of the unique body sensing technology, BladeStop mechanically stops the bandsaw blade within milliseconds reducing these kinds of traumatic injuries.

Bandsaw operation in abattoir

Southern Meats, in Goulburn Australia, process 3,000-5,000 lambs per day and employ about 320 staff members, depending on the season. They were one of the first abattoirs in Australia approached by BladeStop development partner MLA to become directly involved in the research and development of BladeStop more than a decade ago.

Southern Meats OH&S Manager Claire Graham said four major incidents in five years involving traditional bandsaws resulted in 827 hours of lost time, and more than $100,000 in worker compensation claims. “In one incident, the employee lost partial movement in his thumb, while another required a skin graft,” Ms Graham said.

“In contrast, the only incident on a BladeStop bandsaw resulted in a small cut on the operator’s thumb which was dealt with at our on-site medical centre and the employee was back at work straight away.” Ms Graham says prior to the new technology it was hard to encourage people to learn how to operate the bandsaw. “Nobody wants to learn a more dangerous job that can potentially cause amputation of fingers and loss of income – which can lead to added stress for those that have families. Now a lot more staff members are interested in learning the ropes on the new bandsaws.”

Southern Meats employee Fred McGregor is living testament to the potential dangers of the conventional bandsaw. “I severed a tendon in my thumb when the blade went through the top part of my knuckle while I was cutting a sheep spine. I am now back at work and using both types of machines, and think the new technology is amazing. It gives all of us a greater sense of confidence,” Mr McGregor said.

“You feel a lot safer. You feel confident that you’re not going to have a more severe injury, and therefore you know you’ll get home to your family at the end of the day in one piece.”

BladeStop in combination with our GloveCheck vision technology for added safety is available globally. Speak to the Scott team in your region to learn more about this unique safety technology and the benefits it can provide to your production line. 

Find out more information on the BladeStop Bandsaw technology for Meat Processing plants.

 

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