Tag Archives: Safety

CASS: Equipment Training for Students

At Hugg & Hall, we pride ourselves on not only our high levels of customer service through our parts, rental, and service departments, but also through our training programs. We care about the future of the skilled trade workforce, which is why we offer equipment training and certifications for students who are at least 18 years old. 

High School Students Learn Skilled Trades

“CASS”, a.k.a the Career Academy of Siloam Springs strives to encourage students to become skilled workers before graduating High School. Students in this program are able to complete hands on learning and instructional courses taught by professionals in the business during their High School years. Thanks to the opportunities CASS offers, these students will be able to succeed at having a career in a local manufacturing plant, such as Simmons Foods, or Tyson, immediately after graduation.

CASS works with local companies to provide various kinds of equipment training for their students. Opportunities for students in this program have included courses in welding, HVAC, electrical, and even trucking! Because many students graduate and go on to study at universities, skilled workers and laborers are in short supply. The CASS program encourages change and produce groups of young skilled workers who are excited to learn a skilled trade! 

To learn more about the CASS program, visit their Facebook page, here

Hugg &Hall Hosts CASS for Student Lift Training

The Siloam Springs CASS program has trusted Hugg & Hall to provide equipment training for their students for the last 4 years. Hugg & Hall has also provided student training for programs in Berryville as well as Clarksville for the last several years. At the end of April, ten students attended courses at our Springdale, AR location to be trained on safe forklift and aerial lift operations. Warehouse and manufacturing operations covet these skills from potential workers.

Students attended an in depth instructional course in our training room each morning with professional trainer and certified operator, Bob Hendricks. After their classroom instruction, the students stepped outside to receive hands on forklift operations training and aerial lift training. Thanks to our training department, these students have officially completed and passed the courses. Because of the high standard of quality assurance Hugg & Hall has, the students are able to state to companies that they can safely and certifiably operate these pieces of machinery.

“I love teaching young students! They come into class ready to learn as a blank slate. Sometimes when you teach those who have been in the business for a long time, getting them to unlearn bad habits can be difficult. Students who come into our training sessions are eager to learn and learn the right way.” – Bob Hendricks, trainer

 

Training with Hugg & Hall:

Hugg & Hall provides safety training for all of our equipment in order to keep you and your company OSHA compliant. Our Training Department commits themselves to exceeding OSHA’s stringent requirements; featuring experienced and highly trained instructors. Training is offered on warehouse, yard, and rough terrain forklifts, as well as aerial work platforms, Bobcat Equipment, and pedestrian training.

To learn more and book your next forklift operations training session, check out the Operator Training section of our website:

Equipment Safety Training Certifications – Hugg & Hall Equipment Co. (hugghall.com)

Construction Industry Trends in 2022

2021 brought a lot of obstacles for the construction industry. The rise of construction costs, labor shortages, and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how our industry does business. Many industry trends continue to emerge from the pandemic and are changing the roles of industry professionals and frontline workers.

 

Here are 5 major construction industry trends to look for in 2022:

Shortage of Laborers

One very noticeable construction trend is a steady increase in the demand for labor. Quality labor is expensive and competitive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2021-2022, the construction sector is projected to grow 2.6 percent. This equates to 1.6 million new jobs. An influx of educated and seasoned workers will be needed to manage and interpret the data produced by new technology.

Modular and Offsite Construction

Modular and prefab construction is experiencing multiyear rapid growth, and it is not slowing down. The modular construction market, led by the residential sector, is predicted to increase to almost $110 billion by 2025. This uptick is driven by a lack of skilled labor and an increase in cost-cutting technology.

Increasing Material Costs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Producer Price Index for construction goods increased by 17% year over year in 2021. Rising interest rates are likely to compound all types of costs, which will result in further pressure on total construction costs. Technologies like drones will be in key in helping to maintain project volume and combat this cost pressure.

Green Building

With more and more people looking for ways to protect the environment, green construction has become the standard for homebuyers, renters and commercial tenants. Unfortunately, many sustainable and eco-friendly features remain out of reach despite their long-term saving opportunities. This may change over the next decade as eco-tech and sustainable construction become more acceptable and affordable.

Protective Equipment

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted the construction industry by affecting site guidelines with updated state regulations emphasizing cleanliness and strict safety protocols. There is a growth of new devices capable of identifying common safety issues. Some examples of this new technology include material-moving “mules” that transport heavy or hazardous materials and robots that could complete mundane tasks like brick laying to larger more complex tasks. 

These are just a few of the construction industry trends for 2022, there are many more to be on the look out for. Visit the Hugg & Hall website to find out how we can help you stay on trend in 2022!

Prepare for the Winter: Machine Winterization Tips

Winter brings shorter days, frigid temps, and slick, icy conditions. During this time of year, we need to take extra care of our equipment to avoid any damage the colder temperatures can bring. Read on to learn some tips on machine winterization!

MACHINE WINTERIZATION TIPS

Follow these best practices to make sure your equipment is ready for winter.

CHECK CHAIN TANKS, FINAL DRIVES, SWING GEAR BATHS, AND GEAR BOXES FOR WATER

Be sure that you are using coolant that complies with ASTM standard D-621, with a freeze point low enough for you climate. If coolant freezes, it can crack the engine block and ruin the engine.

ADD FUEL CONDITIONER 

Fuel conditioner prevents your fuel from freezing and ensures your engine starts in the cold. The amount of fuel conditioner needed varies depending on the brand and model of the machine. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the amount of conditioner needed. Lastly, always match the fuel conditioner to the type of fuel you’re using (e.g. low sulfur).

CHECK THE FUEL FILTER

If the fuel filter is clogged, moisture can build up and freeze in the winter, causing your machine to run improperly or fail to start. Empty the water traps in the filters before cold weather arrives. To avoid downtime, keep an extra set of fuel filters in your cab.

CHECK COLD START AIDS

Diesel engines spray ether into the air system to help the engine start in cold weather. For older machines that have ether spray bottles, check the bottle to make sure it isn’t empty. For new machines with an automatic ether system, inspect the connections and hoses for cracks or loose connections.

CHECK THE BLOCK HEATER

Block heaters keep fluids at the optimum temperature and viscosity. If the block heater isn’t working, oil can thicken, making it harder to turn the engine over and causes added stress on the battery. To test that it is working properly, plug in the heater then touch the hoses to ensure they are warm.

INSPECT AIR PRE-CLEANERS

Large dust particles and debris can build up during the summer and should be removed. Otherwise, snow and ice could collect around them, allowing moisture into the air system, which could cause engine failure.

CHECK BATTERY AND CONNECTIONS

Corrosion around battery connections causes less voltage to be transmitted, and increases strain on the battery. These corroded connections can drain the battery, preventing your machine from starting. Periodic inspections for corrosion can reduce the chance of having a dead battery.

If your machine is still giving you trouble after you perform these winterization tips, contact our service department!

WINTER STORAGE

DRAIN THE FUEL TANK IF POSSIBLE

If you have a diesel engine, either drain the engine or leave it completely full during the winter months. Draining the fuel tank can be time consuming, but this eliminates the possibility of condensation forming in the fuel tank and spreading. Condensation can clog the fuel filter, which can clog fuel lines, carburetors, and injectors.

RUN THE ENGINE AFTER CLEANING

Run your machine after cleaning the engine and replacing the oil so that a protective film of oil coats the internal parts. The oil coating acts as a rust preventative. Pour a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze into the coolant system before running as well, to protect the cooling system up to -34°F.

CLEAN & FULLY CHARGE BATTERIES, THEN DISCONNECT THE POWER LEADS

Never store discharged batteries. Colder temperatures slow the discharge rate of fully charged batteries.

START MACHINES ONCE A MONTH

Avoid starting machines in extremely cold weather. Find a time when the temperature is above freezing to start the machine and fully warm hydraulics after the engine comes to operating temperatures.

DO NOT TRY TO BREAK CRAWLER TYPE MACHINES FROM A BADLY FROZEN SITUATION

The result can be powertrain damage.

COLD WEATHER OPERATION

PROTECT YOUR MACHINE

If you can’t keep your machine inside when it is not in use, try to at least keep a water resistant tarp over the engine. Snow brings condensation, which can cause problems for the entire engine. 

MANAGE PRODUCTIVITY

Cold weather makes the earth harder, and frost can penetrate roadways and aggregates to make utility, road, and crushing jobs much more difficult and time consuming. Winter months have less daylight, so manage your time wisely.

CLEAN AREAS DESIGNATED FOR SNOW REMOVAL

Clean up debris or equipment that will be hidden by fallen snow. Mark any areas of concern with reflective stakes, so snow removal crews can easily identify and stay away from those areas.

PLAN FOR EARTHWORK PROJECTS

Frozen chunks of ground need to be placed in designated areas. The frozen chunks of earth contain water that can cause major issues in the spring, such as sinkholes.

WARM UP THE MACHINE/WARM UP TO IMPROVE STEERING RESPONSE

Let machines come up to operating temperature before working. Steering response on equipment with hydraulic steering may become very slow at low temperatures, even when the correct oils are used. 

CHECK  FOR ICE BUILDUP 

Check for ice or snow buildup in exhaust or intake if applicable. Inspect and clear any ice or snow from the throttle and break area.

STAY AWARE OF SAFETY

Mount and dismount your machine using three points of contact. Remember that you are working with snow, ice slips and falls are a common cause of injuries. Wear your seatbelt when operating equipment and stay alert. 

Prepare not only your equipment and jobsites; but your employees as well for these temperatures, to help avoid any possible personal injuries and downtime from work. Visit our blog to learn more winter safety tips!

Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety- Fire Prevention Week

 

Fire Prevention Week is observed during the week in which October 9th falls and was first proclaimed in 1925 by President Calvin Coolidge. Knowing the right time to change the batteries in your smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) detector can save your life! 

What if someone in my home is deaf or hard of hearing?

There are smoke detectors and alert devices that alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices include strobe lights that flash to alert people when the smoke detector sounds. Other items such a pillow or bed shakers designed to work with your smoke detector can be purchased and installed. For more information on this topic, visit the National Fire Protection Association website.

Is there a beep or chirp coming from your smoke or CO detector?

A chirping alarm ( one chirp every 30-60 seconds) means the battery needs to be replaced. If the detector continues to chirp after you’ve replaced the battery, then it’s time to replace your detector! 

Did you know, smoke detectors should be tested monthly and replaced every 10 years!

What do the beeps/chirps mean?

Three (3) loud beeps means it has detected smoke or fire.

Four (4) loud beeps means it has detected carbon monoxide.

If you hear beeping- get out to safety and call 911!

To learn more about Fire Prevention Week visit firepreventionweek.org or the National Fire Protection Association website.

 

 

Jobsite Approved Lunches

Jobsites can be unpredictable, especially while the heat of summer is in full effect! As millions of Americans carry “sack lunches” onto the jobsite, it is important to assure proper cooking and handling has been done. So, enjoy these quick tips because we want you to get the most out of your meal, and enjoy your SAFE job site approved lunch!

 

Although it may be tempting to carry your lunch in an affordable brown bag, or to keep it in the bag from the store this can be very dangerous. The ideal start for carrying your food is the use of an insulated container with AT LEAST 2 freezer packs – one above and one below the perishable foods.

The insulated container and freezer packs keep cold food cold and reduce the spread of harmful bacteria. The bacteria multiply rapidly in foods within the “danger zone,” 40°F to 140°F, for more than 2 hours (1 hour when temperatures surpass 90°F). The ability to keep your lunch at a safe temperature allows for a much more imaginative mealtime. Keep reading to see our mealtime tips!

 

Safe lunches begin with safe food preparation. It is important to follow these simple steps.

  • Cooking food to safe temperatures is vital in food preparation; use clean utensils and wash all working surfaces each time. When storing leftover meals, immediately place in packaging or airtight containers. Be sure to portion large quantities into smaller dishes to get food in the “safe zone” (at or below 40°F) quickly to reduce the risk of bacteria.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. In addition, wash all storage dishes, work surfaces and even your insulated lunch container. If you are in a situation where you must use a classic brown paper bag, be sure they are purchased from the food preparation aisle at your local supermarket.
  • Do not over prepare your packed lunch. Packing too much perishable food can cause cooling issues with your cool packs and causes issues of food disposal on the jobsite. If you do pack too much, share with a friend to limit food waste.
  • When handling liquids or fluid foods, use a thermos to keep foods cold or hot. Hot foods should be packaged in a preheated thermal container. Preheating can be done by placing boiling water into the container and letting it set for a few minutes before filling with your preheated food.

 

All perishable foods that are intended to be served cold, must be kept cold. Foods prepared with meat (including fish and poultry), eggs, dairy, cut & peeled fruits and vegetables, pasta and rice dishes meat these guidelines.

  • Prepared foods made in advance and packaged the evening before should stay refrigerated until they are ready to be added to your lunch container. When morning arrives, you should then add foods that do not require refrigeration such as chips or cookies.
  • When arriving at work, place your lunch in a cool dark place. If it is possible to refrigerate, do so, but in many workplaces this option is unavailable. In addition to cooling packs, a frozen water or sports drink can significantly help keep your food cool.

 

Foods that require reheating should be microwaved until they are steaming and heated throughout. Let foods reach edible temperatures to avoid burning.

 

Although many foods require thorough preparation and care to avoid food-borne bacteria, there are some that can remain at room temperature (68-72°F). In hot temperatures, room temperature can be met in an insulated container, and on cool days can be safe without additional preparation.

Safe foods include:

  • Nut butter sandwiches (peanut butter, hazelnut spread, almond butter)
  • Breads & crackers
  • Prepared popcorn
  • Whole intact fruit (fruit with the peel)
  • Fruit cups/ pudding cups
  • Dried fruit, nuts & seeds
  • Cookies, bars, prepared snack mixes
  • Prepared meats, seafood & beans (canned that can be opened and eaten immediately)

 

5 Summer Safety Tips

The summer months come and go in the blink of an eye, but the warmer temperatures can linger on well into the fall. When working in these hotter conditions, employees need to take certain precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses. Below are five safety tips to keep your crew safe during the summer.

 

 

 

Stay Hydrated

Having accessible drinking water and staying well-hydrated is the body’s best defense in hot working conditions. Make sure employees have plenty of water on site and are encouraged to frequently rehydrate. 

Shaded Areas for Resting

Make sure employees have a chance to take breaks out of the direct sun to avoid heatstroke and sunburns. Having lighter mesh clothing and sunscreen are also important tools to staying safe in the sun.

Take Constant Breaks

Continuous work in the heat is not advisable, taking frequent breaks to cool off is ideal when working in hot weather. 

The CDC estimates the amount of break time needed depending on weather and type of work being done- for example, doing moderate work in 103 degrees Fahrenheit would require a 30 minute break for every 30 minutes of work. 

Learn to Recognize the Signs of Heat-Related Illness

Heat stress can be dangerous mainly because it can come on very suddenly- the person experiencing it may not even know it. Making sure everyone on the jobsite is able to spot the signs of heatstroke and heat-related illness, and what to do if these symptoms appear in someone, can be the key to keeping everyone safe.

Some signs to look for include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Clammy, damp, or pale skin
  • Strange behavior or altered mental state
  • Panting/rapid breathing, rapid heart rate

If someone is experiencing any number of these symptoms should stop working immediately and seek medical attention. 

Use Climate Control Equipment When Working Indoors

Working inside on a hot day can begin to feel stifling very quickly. Using industrial size fans or air conditioning can make employees in an indoor work environment cool, safe and productive. Hugg & Hall Utility Services offers multiple air conditioning units, including the Airrex w/ Dehumidifier which offers programmable controls and operating range of 64-113 degrees. This can be especially important to control the dampness in the air to keep materials dry and provide cool air for employees.  

Winter Weather Safety

 

When winter weather strikes, it is important for construction sites to stay active and productive. Bitter cold, snow and ice can cause conditions that are damaging to equipment and could cause personal risk; leading to jobs falling behind schedule. To reduce the chance of injury or downtime, read on for tips to stay safe & to keep your team working at their highest productivity.

 

 

Personal Safety in Winter Conditions

·        Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls

As temperatures approach the freezing point, it is necessary for your company to take the proper steps in preventing slips, trips & falls. Thin patches of ice begin to occur when air temperatures reach the 30s and become dangerous quickly. No matter what kind of construction site you are working on, it is important to always put your team’s safety first.

In the winter months, proper personal protective equipment (PPE), plays a significant role in keeping employees safe. Non-slip footwear is essential in preventing slips, trips & falls & clothing, such as gloves, jackets & hardhat liners allow employees to stay comfortable and warm on site.

Like inappropriate footwear, equipment and ladders create additional job site hazards in the winter months. Avoid hazards while climbing onto equipment by conducting routine inspections for surface ice.  If any ice or snow is detected, clear the surface immediately and be sure your team’s footwear is also free of snow and ice. As always, assure your team is in their fall protection for additional safety.

·        Recognizing Cold Related Illness & Knowing First Aid

Workers can experience serious health complications due to freezing temperatures, preventing sickness in the winter is ideal, but in many situations, cold related illness may still occur.  Recognizing cold related illness, such as hypothermia, frostbite & trench foot, and knowing basic first aid, can be lifesaving on your job site. 

  • Hypothermia

When exposed to the cold, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can produce. This causes your body to use much of its stored energy, leading to hypothermia. Early signs of hypothermia include shivering, loss of coordination, confusion & feeling fatigued. Prolonged hypothermia leads to blue skin, dilation of the pupils, lowered pulse rate & a possible loss of consciousness.

If an individual on your team is experiencing the symptoms of hypothermia please alert the job supervisor and request medical assistance. Move the victim into a warm area and remove any wet clothing, covering with additional clothing or blankets; warm beverages may help increase the victims body temperature. Once the body temperature has increased, keep the victim dry and warm.

  • Frostbite

A loss of feeling and color in cold affected areas can be defined as frostbite. Areas most often affected are the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can cause permanent damage to body tissue and may even lead to limb amputation. Symptoms of frostbite include reduced blood flow, numbness, tingling & stinging, aches and pail waxy skin.

Workers that are suffering with the symptoms of frostbite should immediately find warmth. The victim should avoid using the affected appendage and immerse it in warm (NOT HOT) water. If no warm water is available keep the affected area warm with body heat – do not rub or massage the frostbitten area and do not expose to heat, as it may cause additional damage or burns.

  • Trench Foot

Also known as immersion foot, trench foot is an injury caused by exposure to wet and cold conditions over a prolonged time. Trench foot can occur in temperatures up to 60°F if the individual’s feet are constantly wet. This injury occurs because wet feet lose heat at a higher rate than dry feet and to prevent heat loss, the body constricts all blood circulation to the victim’s feet. Symptoms include discoloration, numbness, lower body cramping, swelling, blisters and bleeding under the skin.

To care for trench foot, remove the victim’s shoe or boots, as well as their socks. Dry the victim’s feet and be sure to avoid walking as it may cause additional damage & seek medical attention.

Preparing for Harsh Weather Conditions

With the change of season, it is important to keep an eye out for the health and safety of yourself & other employees. Taking breaks in heated areas and proper hydration are essential to winter safety. Time away from the elements in a heated area should be encouraged in order for employees to stay dry. Breaks are also a great location to check for the sign of cold related illness. For information on providing your job site with a heated break area, click here.

 

Now that you know the dangers of winter conditions & how to prepare for them, you will be better able to stay active and productive in the winter months. For further preparation we recommend keeping an updated calendar and having a set breaking system to keep your employees safe.

Is A Harness Required?

When are you required to use a harness? The short answer to this question is: it’s complicated. There are many variables that contribute to when a worker is required to wear a harness such as working heights, the type of equipment, job site conditions and company policies. However, a good starting point is to refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s requirements that state: 

General Industry requires fall protection for any worker over 4’. 1910.28(b)(1)(i)

Construction requires fall protection for any worker over 6’. 1926.501(b)(1)

Instances where the general height rules do not apply include when job sites are in/around certain safety hazards like dangerous equipment, machinery or hazardous materials into which workers could fall. In these situations, fall protection or authorized guarding is required regardless of the working height. 

James Lennartz, Training Manager at Hugg & Hall, recently spoke on the many considerations related to fall protection and when harnesses are and aren’t necessary. 

“When it comes to the requirements of wearing fall protection it depends on both the equipment and/or the local/state/employer requirements,” said Lennartz. “According to the ANSI Standard (ANSI/SAIA A92.22); the guardrail system of the Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) is the primary fall protection for occupants.”

“When required to use personal fall protection, either fall restraint or fall arrest, operators and occupants shall comply with the instructions provided by the manufacture regarding anchorage(s),” said Lennartz. “Basically, if the person is using a scissor lift (Group A) they are not required to wear a safety harness as the guardrail system is adequate enough to provide fall protection. Now, local/state or employer can require an operator to wear a safety harness. If the MEWP is a boom lift (Group B), then here it is. All group B MEWP operators and occupants shall use personal fall arrest or fall restraint systems at all times.” 

Specific rules may vary based on the companies and organizations involved as well as federal/state/local laws. Lennartz spoke on Hugg & Hall’s own policy regarding fall protection. 

“Our drivers are required to wear a harness when loading and unloading booms only. We also require the same of customers and other drivers when on our yards,” said Lennartz.

Exceptions

There are a few exceptions to the basic rules and workers/managers always need to be trained on and understand the organizational rules and federal/state/local laws governing their job site. Safety should always be the first priority and fall protection is an important and essential part of work site safety. 

The Pressure to Perform

The Pressure to Perform

 

Tire pressure is the manufacturers recommended inflation rate, variant on load, speed, and other components. Proper measures of tire pressure are read during cold inflation before the machine is operated. Checking the psi of each tire should be an essential part of any pre-use inspection.

Both under and over inflation of your machines tires will result in unnecessary wear, potentially leading to loss of control or accidents. Do not be fooled though, tire inspections should not just be done visually, tires can lose up to half of their pressure before appearing to be flat. This lack of proper inflation puts the tires at risk of tread loss and loss of structural integrity.

Lack of pressure will also cause bending when the tires move. This allows for build-up of internal heat, increasing resistance requiring the machine more fuel or more frequent stops to charge. The depletion of air may seem impossible in your machine’s new tires, but it is important to note that even properly maintained tires naturally leak pressure over time, up to 10% of the recommended weight.

Under Inflation

A machine with low tire pressure is at a reduced level of stability even in the most perfect operating conditions. Additionally, it is more complicated to make quick maneuvers when pressures are low. Even though 5 psi below the manufacturer’s guide can seem insignificant, it is important to acknowledge that in some machines that can be 20% of the tire’s recommended pressure.

Over Inflation

Having increased tire pressure leads to stiff, rough riding tires. The additional pressure allows for the machine to have less contact with the work surface below, which reduces stability. Over inflation can also lead to tires being easily damaged when contacting hazards that were not immediately noticed. Although it may be tempting to overinflate tires for heightened cornering response, it is important to keep machine operators safe with pressures kept at the recommended psi.

Performing with Confidence

Once you have determined the appropriate tire pressure recommended by the equipment manufacturer, you should add a pressure check to your pre-use inspection. This inspection should be done on all equipment, whether rented, leased, or owned. Recommendations may include several different pressures dependent on load, it is important to take the days tasks into account when determining the appropriate psi.

In several new machines tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) may be available. Please note, that even if this feature is installed, it is important to research how the monitoring occurs. With some systems, no alert will be set until the pressure has reached below 25% of the recommended weight. As we mentioned above, the reduced pressure can quickly cause accidents on the jobsite.

If the machine has been fitted for a different tire size than it was manufactured for, it is important to research the changes in necessary pressure. Many manufacturers include pressure recommendations for OEM tires and alternative tire sizes, be sure to reach out to your local Hugg & Hall for more tire specifications.

Selecting the Right Forklift Tires: Pneumatic vs. Cushion | Toyota Forklifts

Jobsite Approved Lunches

Jobsites are up and running and the heat of summer is quick approaching! As millions of Americans carry “sack lunches” onto the jobsite, it is important to assure proper cooking and handling has been done. So, make extra of your favorite dish or grab something on the way, because we want you to get the most out of the brown bag, and enjoy your SAFE lunch!

To do so, read the guidelines below to keep your lunch safe & bacteria free.

Although it may be tempting to carry your lunch in an affordable brown bag, or to keep it in the bag from the store this can be very dangerous. The ideal start for carrying your food is the use of an insulated container with AT LEAST 2 freezer packs – one above and one below the perishable foods.

The insulated container and freezer packs keep cold food cold and reduce the spread of harmful bacteria. The bacteria multiply rapidly in foods within the “danger zone,” 40°F to 140°F, for more than 2 hours (1 hour when temperatures surpass 90°F). The ability to keep your lunch at a safe temperature allows for a much more imaginative mealtime. Keep reading to see our mealtime tips!

 

Safe lunches begin with safe food preparation. It is important to follow these simple steps.

  • Cooking food to safe temperatures is vital in food preparation; use clean utensils and wash all working surfaces each time. When storing leftover meals, immediately place in packaging or airtight containers. Be sure to portion large quantities into smaller dishes to get food in the “safe zone” (at or below 40°F) quickly to reduce the risk of bacteria.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. In addition, wash all storage dishes, work surfaces and even your insulated lunch container. If you are in a situation where you must use a classic brown paper bag, be sure they are purchased from the food preparation aisle at your local supermarket.
  • Do not over prepare your packed lunch. Packing too much perishable food can cause cooling issues with your cool packs and causes issues of food disposal on the jobsite. If you do pack too much, share with a friend to limit food waste.
  • When handling liquids or fluid foods, use a thermos to keep foods cold or hot. Hot foods should be packaged in a preheated thermal container. Preheating can be done by placing boiling water into the container and letting it set for a few minutes before filling with your preheated food.

 

All perishable foods that are intended to be served cold, must be kept cold. Foods prepared with meat (including fish and poultry), eggs, dairy, cut & peeled fruits and vegetables, pasta and rice dishes meat these guidelines.

  • Prepared foods made in advance and packaged the evening before should stay refrigerated until they are ready to be added to your lunch container. When morning arrives, you should then add foods that do not require refrigeration such as chips or cookies.
  • When arriving at work, place your lunch in a cool dark place. If it is possible to refrigerate, do so, but in many workplaces this option is unavailable. In addition to cooling packs, a frozen water or sports drink can significantly help keep your food cool.

 

Foods that require reheating should be microwaved until they are steaming and heated throughout. Let foods reach edible temperatures to avoid burning.

 

Although many foods require thorough preparation and care to avoid food-borne bacteria, there are some that can remain at room temperature (68-72°F). In hot temperatures, room temperature can be met in an insulated container, and on cool days can be safe without additional preparation.

Safe foods include:

  • Nut butter sandwiches (peanut butter, hazelnut spread, almond butter)
  • Breads & crackers
  • Prepared popcorn
  • Whole intact fruit (fruit with the peel)
  • Fruit cups/ pudding cups
  • Dried fruit, nuts & seeds
  • Cookies, bars, prepared snack mixes
  • Prepared meats, seafood & beans (canned that can be opened and eaten immediately)