HSE food manufacturing inspections target the causes of workplace ill-health

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced via a press release that they are targeting food manufacturing sites in early 2018.

27th Feb 2018

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced via a press release that they are targeting food manufacturing sites in early 2018. They will be specifically looking at some of the main causes of ill health associated with the food manufacturing sector, namely Occupational Asthma and Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Visits will be unannounced and employers in the sector have been told to be prepared and that they must pay closer attention to how they manage workplace health risks or face serious penalties.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) programme of proactive inspections will review health and safety standards in food manufacturing, focusing on two of the main causes of ill-health in the sector which are currently;

  • occupational asthma - from exposure to flour dust in bakeries, cake and biscuit manufacturers and grain mills and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
  • lower back pain and upper limb disorders - from manual handling activities and repetitive tasks.

The inspection visits come as HSE recently released its Manufacturing sector plan which prioritises the reduction of cases of occupational lung disease and MSDs.

Exposure to flour dust is the UK’s second most common cited cause of occupational asthma. MSDs are the most common type of work-related illness in food manufacturing with handling injuries, accounting for around 20% of reported employee injuries (RIDDOR). HSE insists that such ill-health can be prevented when organisations have proper risk control systems in place.

The inspections will ensure measures are being taken by those responsible to protect workers against health risks and HSE will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements.

HSE’s head of Manufacturing Sector John Rowe, said: “The food manufacturing sector is made up of over 300,000 workers and its health and safety record needs to improve. This inspection initiative will look to ensure effective management and control of targeted health risks.

HSE is calling on anyone working in the industry to take the time to refresh their knowledge of our advice and guidance, available for free on our website.

Food manufacturing companies should do the right thing by protecting workers’ health; everyone has the right to go home healthy from work.”

Alcumus have an extensive team of experts are on hand to advise, support and deliver Health, Safety and Environmental solutions. Our consultants can help with all HSE requirements and help you implement processes that keep your business compliant.