Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), in association with the Western Region Municipality and Abu Dhabi Municipality, has held a conference on "Health and Occupational Safety in Slaughter Houses" with participation from a number of experts and veterinarians.
Dr. Mu'tasim Ibrahim, acting head of the Slaughter Houses Unit at ADFCA, presented a paper on 'Health and Safety Risks in Slaughter Houses.' He said that risks to the muscles were the most common in slaughter houses as a result of wrong handling of the animals, the slaughter boxes or the meat, in addition to wrong design of the slaughter-house.
He drew attention to the occupational risks in slaughter houses and their potential, including mechanical, physical, chemical, biological and psychological risks. He illustrated many risks that workers may get exposed to in slaughter houses from the animals, such as kicks, bites, slipping, fall, contagions, wounds and noise.
Philip Kilgallon, Occupational Safety expert at ADFCA, presented a paper on "Positive Health and Safety Culture," in which he argued that the absence of clear working standards in slaughter houses would be the primary reason for occupational accidents in them. He also pointed to other reasons such as bad working conditions, inappropriate clothes and tools, lack of training for the workers and technicians on occupational safety and the lack of continuous monitoring and supervision in the slaughter houses.
He stressed that one of the principal requirements for a positive culture of health and safety would be the values, behavior and commitment that the organization demonstrates toward it s workers. He pointed out that the notion of occupational safety in slaughter houses developed as a result of the improvement in tools and equipment in the 1970s, the laying down of working standards in the 1980s, training for human resources in the 1980s and the management of psychological factors at present. Psychological factors are among the principal reasons for occupational accidents in organizations.
John Pinto from the Environment, Health and Safety office in the Western Region Municipality spoke about the risks involved in dealing with the machines for preparing the meat. He drew attention to the need for putting in place a mechanism for removing the electric machines away from the workers in case of an accident, including disconnection of power from the machines during maintenance and cleaning or any other work on them.
He stressed the importance of using machines that close automatically as well as of using cranes to lift and load machines instead of employing workers for the purpose.
Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman of Abu Dhabi Slaughter House reviewed the implementation of the health and occupational safety system in slaughter houses within the Abu Dhabi Municipality. One of the key components of the system is that all the contracts and tenders pertaining to slaughter houses must include the following clauses: strict commitment to health, safety and environmental standards, use of water-proof electric equipment and extensions, periodic maintenance for all equipment, automatic alarm system if ammonia, which is the gas used in freezers, leaked out, storing and dealing with chemical products safety, pesticide and insecticide, putting up guideline boards and reporting on accidents and diseases.