The HSE have announced that between January and March 2019 their inspectors will be targeting food manufactures. There are two particular issues that inspectors will be concentrating on.
The first area of concern is the controls manufacturers have in place to protect workers from occupational asthma as a result of exposure to flour dust. Exposure to flour dust is estimated to be the second most common cause of occupation asthma in the UK.
Typical controls that may be in place include working carefully to avoid generating clouds of dust, for example by starting mixers slowly until wet and dry ingredients are combined. Other measures may include using dust extraction or respiratory protective equipment for dusty tasks.
Inspectors will also be looking at controls in place to prevent injury from lifting, carrying and repetitive handling tasks. Musculoskeletal disorders are common in the food manufacturing sector and account for around 20% or reported injuries. Typical control measures may include mechanising tasks where possible and where mechanisation is not practical using other measures such as job rotation, training, ergonomic design of workstations etc.
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