Butcher Safety Equipment & Why You Need It

In the meatpacking and butchering industry, cuts and other injuries are commonplace due to the physical nature of the job. Handling sharp knives, slicers, and grinders means there’s always a risk of hurting oneself — if you’re a butcher, it’s paramount that you have the safest equipment possible and are educated about how to handle it. Here’s why.

Let’s start with what you need to wear

Safe knife handling, among other related equipment, cannot be achieved unless you are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) first. This is a regulatory part of being a butcher or working in a butchery and is in place to prevent cuts and punctures. It starts with sturdy work shoes in case you drop a sharp object. An apron is the second most important piece of gear to protect the upper leg and torso areas from an accidental injury. Gauntlets will protect your arms, complemented by cut-resistant butcher gloves. These should ideally be covered with an extra layer of latex gloves to maintain optimal sanitation standards, as well as to improve your grip.

A few knife safety tips to bear in mind

Not all knives are made the same and different knives serve different purposes when butchering. After thoroughly washing your hands, be sure to:

  • Keep your knives properly sharpened so that they seamlessly slice through meat and won’t accidentally slip
  • Frequently inspect, maintain, and replace your knives and blades
  • Always cut away from your body to avoid any accidental injury
  • Always use a cutting board or another appropriate surface — never try to cut a piece of meat in your hand
  • Use a meat holder fork or prong to keep meat stable as you cut it
  • Carry a knife pointing down and away from you when walking around with it
  • Store your knives properly after use

How to safely use butcher equipment

Butcher equipment such as grinders and slicers have the potential to create serious injuries, amputations, and even death if not used properly. Before using this equipment, conduct a thorough examination to ensure they will both work accordingly and aren’t damaged or broken.

When using a slicer or grinder on whichever meat product, always be cognisant of where your hands are — make sure the equipment is in the correct setting before you switch it on. Importantly, always use the appropriate-sized food pusher and never use your hands to process food through grinders and slicers. Tie any loose hair back, remove any obstructive jewelry, and wear tight clothing to prevent getting caught in the equipment. 

While you’re using slicers, grinders, and sharp knives on flat, clutter-free surfaces and maintaining your equipment regularly, as well as following safe work practices, you should be able to create a safe working environment where both you and your colleagues are unharmed. If you’re looking for superior advice on butcher safety and associated equipment, get in touch with the team at VWG.

Van Wyngaardt’s delivery policy

Our delivery policy requires a minimum order amount depending on the region. You may order from Monday to Thursday. Should you place an order before 12:00, we assure you of next-day delivery. If you order after 12:00, the order will be delivered to you the following working day. This is only valid for Gauteng stores. Outer Gauteng stores delivery period may vary. At Van Wyngaardt, we pride ourselves on always providing exceedingly good meats.

Should you have any queries or require more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and one of our sales representatives will gladly assist you. 

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