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Mastiha processing and production
The OiRA tool for conducting a Risk Assessment study in the field of natural mastiha processing and production of a range of different mastiha-based products - a world's unique natural raisin produced exclusively in the southern part of the island of Chios - aims to protect the safety and health of workers from the hazards in their working environment, such as the hazards associated to the use of sharp tools, to repetitive movements of the upper limbs, to the continuous sedentary work, to musculoskeletal problems or hazards associated to the equipment used for cleaning, separating and treating processes of the natural mastiha raisin, as well as to the packaging and distribution equipment for the various mastiha products. The identification and assessment of these hazards and their associated risks and then, in a next phase, the development of an action plan with all the necessary protection and prevention measures through this specialized, online, interactive RA tool is expected to make a decisive contribution to the continuous improvement of the working conditions and the working environment and to the intended reduction in the numbers of the occupational accidents and the work-related diseases in the particular business sector. It is worthy to note that the systematic and effective management of occupational risks on the basis of prevention, is a matter of top priority for the cooperative Association of the Mastiha Producers in the island of Chios. This association is the collective expression of 20 primary cooperatives from the 24 mastiha-villages covering in appr. 4.500 local small family businesses of mastiha-trees cultivation and its main activity is the collection, processing and marketing of the natural raisin (named mastiha) and the production and marketing of its wide range of products (the most important of them awarded with the label of “Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) products”).
Occupational risks in the catering services industry are mainly associated with physically demanding work, prolonged standing and static postures, repetitive movements of the upper limbs and manual transport of loads. It is also associated with working in kitchens with hot surfaces, using knives, sharp instruments, cutting machine, workers' movements, and slippery floors. Other risks at the workplace are associated with long working hours and over exposure to high and low temperatures, high levels of noise, chemical cleaners and various harmful biological factors. The psychosocial risks due to increasing work demands, irregular schedules and regular contact with customers are also very important. The OiRA tool is intended primarily for micro and small enterprises in the sector. The use of the tool by businesses is expected to shape the health and safe conditions at the workplace, to improve the level of protection for workers, as well as to support the efficiency and competitiveness of the industry at the same time.