"Find 7 errors" campaign challenges butchers to improve workplace safety

Print ad asks readers to find seven common mistakes butchers make in the workplace

Workplace safety isn’t a laughing matter, but a campaign from Quebec’s health and workplace safety board uses a well-known children’s game to create awareness about workplace safety practices.

"We want to raise the issue of security around machines, principally meat slicers and band saws, which are unfortunately involved in many workplace accidents," said Geneviève Trudel, a spokesperson with Quebec's commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail.

The organization ran a print campaign in the latest edition of Radar, the newsletter of the Association des Détaillants en Alimentation du Québec.

Founded in 1955, the ADAQ represents some 8,000 grocery stores across Quebec, including those of all the major banners.

The two-page, French-language ad begins with a full-page colour photo of three butchers–two men and a woman–cutting and preparing meat in a cluttered workspace.

"In a butcher shop, there are many tasks and various machines to do them with," explains the text about the photo. “One constant? The machines are dangerous for their user.”

The ad prompts the reader to find seven errors in the photograph, while the following page reveals the errors and shows a photo of the same workers correcting their mistakes.

Problems range from one butcher’s use of a meat slice, to another failing to use safety guards on the band saw. Others include blood and cardboard on the floor, electrical wires near the cutters, and dangling jewelry and loose clothing.

In the corrected photo, the three are working in a clean, uncluttered workspace, and wearing safety glasses and hardhats.

According to Trudel, the CSST has been using this format in safety campaigns for different dangerous trades for decades.

"Despite its fun aspect, it is above all else a teaching tool," she told Canadian Grocer.

Trudel says the butcher ad points out common errors that have been identified in the butcher trade through "rigorous collection of data and many exchanges with our experts."

Retired butcher Paul Chouinard knows all about the dangers of meat departments.

"Our dad taught us to always clean up and keep the shop clean," said Chouinard. "You can't have blood and water on the floor (and) you need to make sure machines are always well installed and maintained."

In addition to using sharp cutting knives and unforgiving saw blades, he said butchers must also handle heavy cases of meat and work in fridges and freezers.

"You have to stay alert," said Chouinard, who was injured only once in his career, when he cut his thumb with a saw after looking up to talk to a client. "Things can go wrong quickly."

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