The Federation of Bakers (FOB), who represent the largest bakeries in the UK who produce sliced and wrapped bread, bakery snacks and other bread products, such as Allied Bakeries, Kerry, Warburtons and Roberts Bakery, have recently updated their guidance on dust control in bakeries.
“Guidance on Dust Control and Health Surveillance in Bakeries” carried out by the Federation’s Health and Safety Committee, addresses one of the “more significant OH (occupational health) risks in the industry; respiratory exposure to flour and other ingredient dusts.”
While the legal standard in the UK for controlling risk of exposure to flour and ingredient dust is contained in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), the FOB’s guidance sets out best practice measures.
The guidance provides “information and advice for bakers and others working in the food manufacturing industry which, if followed, will help them reduce risk arising from employee exposure to flour and other ingredient dusts. Following the guidance will also help employers in the industry meet their duty of care for employees and contribute to ensuring health and safety compliance.”
“In particular, the guidance provides advice on how to assess dust levels in the work-place and outlines a range of practical measures which can be taken to reduce dust exposures as low as reasonably practicable.” For example, segregation of dusty processes can prevent exposure of employees not involved in handling flour or other dusty ingredients.
While extraction is often used to limit dust levels, dust cannot be completely eliminated when bakery operations are within the same space. By segregating dusty processes from other operations you can reduce exposure and keep adjacent areas dust free. Flexiwall, Westgate’s tensioned fabric partition wall solution, can contain dust from flour, sugar and other associated baking dusts and has been used by many companies (alongside extraction) to reduce the risk of impacting employee health and dust explosions.
Westgate can design, manufacture and install Flexiwall to fit within an existing facility as there is no limit on the wall’s height or width. Arrange a call back or site visit from a food sector specialist to discuss reducing occupational dust.