Industrial oven safety is crucial for employees and facilities alike. Regular maintenance and employee training are the two most important components of maintaining proper safety standards. This includes shutoff devices, steam components, and all other working parts of industrial ovens. Government regulation of industrial oven safety comes down to a single vital regulation from which safety basics stem.
Industrial oven safety is governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). OSHA's stipulations include that ovens and safety devices associated with those ovens be maintained vigilantly and kept in proper working condition at all times. Additionally, ovens should be inspected on a regular basis by trained employees of the facility where the oven is located, and somewhat less frequently by the oven manufacturer.
OSHA regulations state that trained facility employees should inspect the ovens at least twice a month. Oven manufacturer representatives should inspect their ovens at least once a year. This regulation is stipulated in American National Standard Institute (ANSI) Z50.1-1947.
Industrial oven safety is maintained every day by well-trained, attentive employees who use the equipment.
Industrial ovens have been used as tools for a long time. As both professional and consumer appliances have advanced, so too have industrial ovens, including their safety features. However, that does not mean that older industrial ovens have necessarily been decommissioned. Special attention must be paid to older ovens that do not have modern safety features, especially since operators who had mastered the individual quirks of these ovens may have handed down the responsibility to someone else over time.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises that employees must be trained in both proper operational procedures for equipment (including industrial ovens), as well as emergency shutdown procedures. The NFPA considers this training and observation of procedure critical to avoiding catastrophes, such as industrial oven explosions. Industrial oven explosions, while rare, are still a possibility.
Employee training in all procedures, including those only used in emergencies, is critical to success in industrial oven safety. This training should be compulsory for all employees in a facility, not just the ones who operate the equipment. Employees should also be trained specifically and in great detail regarding any industrial ovens they will be using, regardless of their age. Regular and meticulous maintenance of industrial ovens, including safety equipment, is the other most important component of problem prevention. By stopping potential problems before they start, industrial baking facilities can avoid unsafe conditions and disasters alike.