Food manufacturing safety on a plate

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Occupational safety and health

Significant progress has been made in cutting work place injuries in the food industry, according to a conference on food manufacturing safety staged yesterday in Blackpool, UK.

Fatal injuries are down by 76 per cent and total injuries are down by 57 per cent since the Recipe for Safety Initiative was introduced in the early ‘90s,”​ a spokeswoman for the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) told

Jak Thomas, national health and safety manager of Allied Bakeries and chair of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, said:

The food and drink manufacturing sector has been working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), trade unions and other groups since 1990 to address the way health and safety is tackled by employers in our industry​. This joint working has achieved remarkable success with the injury rate falling by almost one half in that time​.”

Thomas identified the five key areas of risk management critical to the safety and well being of workers in the industry as: people safety, process safety, property risk, occupational health and road risk.

Dr Clive Harker, occupational physician at United Biscuits, identified the main occupational health priorities for food and drink manufacturers. Topping the list was asthma, followed by back pain, mental health and work-related limb disorders.

Thomas said priorities over the next year will be to continue to develop behavourial safety culture, to focus on occupational health issues through workforce health surveillance, improve communications with non-English speaking workers and conduct risk assessments for the aging population.

Ten key danger topics are being targeted by the HSE’s Food Section and the Food and Drink Manufacture Health and Safety Forum.

The main three areas are: Workplace transport, falls from height and slips and trips. Those are followed by manual handling disorders, machinery dangers, struck by objects, dermatisis, asthma, noise induced hearing loss and work-related stress.

The Recipe for Safety Initiative is being implemented by the Food and Drink Manufacture and Safety Forum which includes representatives from the FDF, the HSE’s Food Section, other key food and drink trade associations and the Trades Union Congress.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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