Stationary Process Container Safety for Food Processing

food processing stationary process containerA stationary container system is comprised of a tank or process contained with pope work and fittings, all located in one place.

Often, stationary process containers are used for varying and different food products over a period of time (sometimes seasonally determined). At one point the container may hold acidic foods or fluids (tomatoes, orange juice, etc.), while another batch of food being processed is higher in alkali.

So, in adding various chemicals or food processing agents to a stationary process container, depending on the food being processed, it often does not make sense to label the container in the same fashion that you would label a shipping or storage container –the contents of the process container may change from batch to batch and product to product. So, your labeling would have to be changed out again and again which is simply not logical.

In these cases, OSHA permits you, under the Hazard Communication Standard, to use other documentation to identify the chemicals and hazards that are present, including: signs, placards, process sheets, batch tickets, operating procedures, or other written materials. It is one of the few exceptions to the standard requirements.

Whichever of these methods you choose to employ, the information must be readily accessible, visible and easy to comprehend to all employees in their work area throughout each work shift. Additionally, the chosen method must;

  1. First, identify the chemicals and containers to which it is applicable at that given moment in time,
  2. convey the same information that would be found on a label, for that particular content, were it to also be stored in a storage or transport container, and
  3. provide an immediate visual warning of the chemical hazards of the workplace.

The most important thing to remember when utilizing an alternative labeling system is that it contains and conveys all of the same information (signal word, pictogram(s), product identifier, hazard statement, and precautionary statement) a compliant label would. Training is a must when using an alternative system to ensure workers know how to use and understand the system in order to stay safe from potentially dangerous chemicals.

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