The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) programme of proactive inspections will review health and safety standards in food manufacturing businesses across the country, and the sector is being warned that a programme of unannounced inspections will begin from January.

The HSE says that the inspections will focus on two of the main causes of ill-health in the sector – occupational asthma from exposure to flour dust and musculoskeletal disorders (predominantly lower back pain and upper limb disorders).

The inspection visits come as HSE recently released its manufacturing sector plan, which prioritises the reduction of cases of occupational lung disease and MSDs. It says that the inspections will ensure measures are being taken by those responsible to protect workers against health risks and the HSE will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements.

HSE’s head of Manufacturing Sector John Rowe said: “The food manufacturing sector is made up of over 300,000 workers and its health and safety record needs to improve. 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. Food manufacturing companies should do the right thing by protecting workers’ health; everyone has the right to go home healthy from work.”