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Student Safety Enhancement Project Constructed in Cal Poly Creamery

At a glance, moving a few drops of milk from a truck doesn’t seem so dangerous. But to one group of seniors, it was a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Cal Poly Creamery staff members can now rest easy after the construction of a new safety enhancement project. A group of fourth-year bioresources and agricultural engineering (BRAE) students, with the help of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), fixed a critical flaw in the process of milk inspection.

In the time it takes for milk to leave Cal Poly cows and arrive at your kitchen table, there are many steps that creamery staffers take behind the scenes. One of them is extracting milk samples from large trucks in order to determine if the product meets health code regulations. Only then will the creamery use it to make its renowned dairy products.

Extracting these samples used to involve a lengthy procedure. First, Cal Poly Creamery student assistants climbed to the top of a 10-foot truck using a ladder. At the top, they used a sterile ladle to collect a milk sample from the truck’s hatch. Then, the assistants descended the ladder, all the while making sure the sample was secure.

When the BRAE students first observed this extracting procedure, they noticed several steps that put the creamery assistants at risk. They immediately consulted EHS and went to work to create a safer, more efficient design.

Now, the creamery benefits from a much more sound procedure. There is a designated truck pull-up spot with a bridge built conveniently above it. Instead of a ladder, there are stairs — complete with handrails and guardrails — that lead staffers directly to a platform for easy access of the truck’s top hatch.

To accomplish this project, students enlisted the help of Environmental Health Specialist Tim Hastings. Hastings played a role in the design process, and in helping the students assure each element of the project met California building code requirements as well as California Occupational Safety and Health regulations.

Thanks to quick-thinking students and a little help from EHS, Cal Poly Creamery employees can breathe a sigh of relief during the extraction process, and can now focus on making delicious dairy products.