Organisations within the food manufacturing sector are being told they must pay closer attention to how they manage workplace health risks or face serious penalties.
The Health & Safety Executive have recently announced that they will be introducing a programme of unannounced visits to food manufacturing organisations to ‘warn’ employers to ‘pay closer attention to how they manage workplace health risks or face serious penalties’.
The unannounced inspections will focus on two of the main causes of ill-health in this sector which are currently occupational asthma from exposure to flour dust in bakeries, cake and biscuit manufacturers and grain mills. The other is musculoskeletal disorders (lower back pain and upper limb disorders) from manual handling activities and repetitive tasks across the sector.
The HSE have insisted that they will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements.
The HSE says:
“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…
“Food manufacturing companies should do the right thing by protecting workers’ health; everyone has the right to go home healthy from work.”
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.
It really is a great time for food manufacturing organisations to refresh their Health & Safety knowledge and make employees workplace safety a priority.
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