What do you need to know about the new HSE Food Manufacturing Inspections?

We know that our clients in the food manufacturing industry take the health and wellbeing of employees seriously.

Earlier in the year, the Health and Safety Executive released a statement saying that they would be implementing inspections to target the cause of workplace ill-health in food manufacturing businesses.

They felt that companies and staff needed to pay closer attention to how they manage workplace health risks. If they don’t, businesses in the sector risk facing serious penalties.

With this in mind, we take a look at what businesses in food manufacturing need to know about the new HSE food manufacturing inspections.

What will the inspections be looking for?

Introduced on January 2nd, 2018, the HSE food manufacturing inspections will review the health and safety standards of food manufacturing businesses across the country.

Based on the results of the HSE’s Manufacturing sector plan, the inspections will focus on two of the main causes of ill-health in the sector;

  • Occupational asthma from exposure to flour dust in bakeries, cake and biscuit manufacturers and grain mills
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – predominantly lower back pain and upper limb disorders from manual handling activities and repetitive tasks across the sector.

The intention of the inspections is to ensure that measures are being taken to protect workers against health risks. As a result, the HSE expressed that they wouldn’t hesitate to use enforcement in order to bring about improvements.

Most common work-related illnesses

By focusing on the two most common types of work-related illness, organisations can prevent ill-health more effectively with proper risk control systems in place.

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).

Exposure to flour dust is the UK’s second most commonly cited cause of occupational asthma.

A need to improve health and safety

With the food manufacturing sector being made up of over 300,000 workers, the HSE’s Head of Manufacturing Sector John Rowe said that its health and safety record needed to improve.

He added, “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.”

What can companies in the food manufacturing sector do to prepare for a HSE inspection?

We agree with the HSE, that food manufacturing companies should do the right thing by protecting workers’ health.

In order to do this, businesses should put in place a comprehensive health and safety strategy. If you’d like to find out how the team at Fusion can help you prepare for a HSE Food Manufacturing inspection, contact us today.

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Categories: EmployeesHealth & WellbeingOccupational HealthSupport

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