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Training and monitoring will drive Health & Safety standards

21 January 2018

Following a recent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announcement relating to its efforts to address workplace health risks in the food manufacturing sector, Bureau Veritas has revealed that improving training and monitoring will be key to elevating health and safety standards across the industry. 

The recently announced that is conducting a round of surprise inspections and urging businesses in the sector to pay closer attention to how they manage workplace health risks or face serious penalties. The aim of the inspections is to tackle the two main causes of workplace illnesses in the sector — occupational asthma from exposure to flour dust in bakeries, cake and biscuit manufacturers and grain mills; and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) — predominantly lower back pain and upper limb disorders from manual handling activities and repetitive tasks across the sector.  

Emma Cartwright, food sector lead at Bureau Veritas, said: “The recent HSE warning that the regulator will be conducting impromptu inspections looking at how well businesses are managing their workplace health risks, makes it a compelling time for food manufacturers to review their current systems and adopt best practice in order to boost health and safety standards across the board.  

“The increasing number of reports of MSDs can often be due to a lack of training in manual handling and minimal job rotation within food manufacturing roles. As a result, this can have a financial impact on businesses due to increased levels of sickness and compensation claims being submitted.

“The significant rise in work related asthma cases being reported especially in individuals that are in contact with flour dust within the workplace means that exposure to flour dust is now the UK’s second most common cited cause of occupational asthma.”  

For Bureau Veritas the key to tackling the incidence of workplace illnesses is through adopting a long-term best practice programme of improved training and monitoring. Emma adds: “First and foremost, it is imperative for businesses to get their training right. Implementing and maintaining a system that regularly carries out ergonomic assessments of working areas and properly teaches employees invaluable manual handing techniques can go a long way in limiting the incidence of MSDs, not only by ensuring that employees are working safely but also for the correct durations.  

“For food manufacturers looking to better manage the levels of dust within the working environment, we advise a tailored monitoring solution, provided by Bureau Veritas, that produces regular and detailed reports aimed at helping employers manage the air conditions within the workplace. Alongside this, we can also carry out DSEAR assessments to help eliminate explosion risks associated with dust levels.  

“As the industry faces greater scrutiny, now is the perfect time for companies in the sector to review their current health and systems and look at ways to better protect the health of their employees.”


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