Worker Policies - 1.4 Injuries & Illness

Workers who have open cuts, sores and wounds or suffer from an illness that can be transferred to food (e.g. hepatitis A) can pose a food safety risk.

Injuries and illness food safety flow chart

This good agricultural practice applies to farms with workers who milk livestock, or handle eggs, honey, fruits, nuts or vegetables.

What Needs to Be Done

Make sure workers with open cuts or wounds or displaying symptoms of illness do not enter any food production or handling areas without taking appropriate measures to prevent contamination.

How to Do It

Establish practices to handle worker illness or injury.

To avoid contaminating food, make sure workers take the following precautions:

  • Protect all open cuts and wounds securely with waterproof bandages or coverings.
  • Change all coverings frequently.
  • Report all cuts and wounds sustained in the workplace to the employer immediately for appropriate first aid and application of protective coverings

When a worker is showing signs of illness, make sure he or she does not handle food. Symptoms could include:

  • Skin lesions (boils or sores)
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eye colour)
  • For farms with paid workers, have at least one worker with a valid first aid certificate present during production times.?

Keep first aid kits well stocked and readily available to workers. First aid kits and stations should contain:

  • A current edition of a standard St. John Ambulance First Aid Manual,
  • Safety pins,
  • Bandages (individually wrapped, larger field dressings), and
  • Sterile gauze (pads and rolls).
  • Encourage workers to report all cuts, wounds and illnesses and take appropriate measures.

In General

When you suspect food has become contaminated due to worker injury or illness, seek advice on the best course of action (for example, possible recall, cleaning and sanitizing, or disposal options).

If You Need an Audit

Be prepared for a possible request from the auditor to review:

  • Stocked first aid kits available for workers,
  • Written practices to deal with suspected contaminated product and proper sanitation of affected equipment and area, and
  • Valid certificate(s) of worker(s) with first aid training.

Laws & Regulations that Apply

There are few specific agricultural laws that impact on food safety regulating persons with injuries or wounds on-farm. Generally, these requirements are laid out in laws regarding the processing of meat, fish and other food products, which are outside the scope of this document.


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