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HSE: Food manufacturing sector health and safety ‘needs to improve

The food and beverage manufacturing business consist of over 30 different industries.Among these are slaughterhouses, meat, poultry, and fish processing plants, grain mills, maltings, bakeries, sugar confectioneries, fruit and vegetable processing plants, oils and fats, margarine and edible oils, pasta, infant foods, and dairies are examples of these. Soft drink production, beer and cider production, wine, spirits, and whiskey distillation are all examples of drinks manufacturing.

The most common occupational disease is undoubtedly asthma caused by flour dust. In the food manufacturing industry, MSDs account for around 20% of reported employee injuries (RIDDOR).The HSE maintains that such illness can be avoided if organizations have functional risk management procedures.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) proactive inspection program will assess health and safety standards in food manufacturing enterprises across the industry and has been informed that an unannounced inspection program will begin next week. The inspections coincide with the announcement of the HSE's manufacturing sector plan, which prioritizes the reduction of cases of occupational lung disease and MSDs.

The inspections will verify that those in charge are taking precautions to protect workers from health dangers, and the HSE will not hesitate to use enforcement to effect change.

Needs to improve:

The Health and Safety Executive said earlier this year that they will be implementing inspections to target the source of workplace ill-health in food manufacturing industries.

They believed that businesses and employees needed to pay more attention to how they manage workplace health risks. If they do not, enterprises in the sector face severe penalties.

With this in mind, let's observe what food manufacturing companies need to know about the new HSE food production inspections.

Based on the findings of the HSE's Manufacturing sector plan, the inspections will concentrate on two of the leading causes of illness in the industry:

Occupational asthma is caused by flour dust exposure in bakeries, cake and biscuit producers, and grain mills.

Musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs) are primarily lower back discomfort and upper limb problems caused by manual handling activities and repeated jobs in the workplace.

The inspections are intended to ensure precautions to protect workers from health concerns. As a response, the HSE stated that they will not hesitate to employ enforcement to effect change.

With suitable risk control measures, organizations may prevent ill health more effectively by focusing on the two most common categories of work-related sickness.

MSDs are the most common type of work-related sickness in food manufacturing, accounting for around 20% of reported employee injuries (RIDDOR).

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