New electric can opener reduces risk of injury, saves time, and creates happier employees

With the task of preparing food to feed hundreds of students each day, a food service employee devotes a lot of time to prepping meals. This includes tasks such as chopping and mixing, and opening cans — lots of them.

In an average school prep kitchen, an employee can open 30 to 40 extra-large cans a day. The typical kitchen staff does this task using a manual crank-style can opener. Each can requires between three and ten times around to fully open. Not only can this be time consuming but it can also cause injury due to the repetitive nature of the task.

Injuries to the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder are common to the food service worker and these claims can cost $6,000 or more depending on the severity. Injury from opening cans is one reason the ESD 113 Workers’ Comp Trust safety team researched solutions for North Thurston Public Schools.

Bob Pierce, Manager of Safety and Health Services at ESD 113, together with Alicia Neal, Director of Nutrition and Food Services at North Thurston Public Schools, replaced outdated manual can openers with the Edlund 270 Two-Speed Tabletop Heavy-Duty Electric Can Opener at a cost of about $1,300.

You can view more information on this can opener on our Safety & Health Channel:

The new electric can opener is a Safety Incentive Grant–eligible item. Contact Bob Pierce at 360-464-6881 or for more information.