Death by Baking? The dangers of Flour Dust…
When you think of “dangerous jobs”, baking isn’t typically the first one that springs to mind. But workers in baking-related jobs often inhale flour dust when it becomes airborne, which can irritate the respiratory tract and lead to occupational asthma, also known as “baker’s asthma”.
Baker’s asthma is a very frequent occupational allergic disease caused mainly by inhalation of cereal flour, particularly wheat flour. It’s actually considered one of the most common types of occupational asthma.
For this reason, Flour is one of the 500 substances that is subject to Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs), as established by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The exposure level to flour dust must be as far below the WEL of 10 mg/m3 as possible and employers must carry out regular COSHH health surveillance checks on employees, including breathing and skin checks, to reduce instances of work-related ill-health in bakeries.
There are a range of measures that can be implemented to reduce workers’ exposure to flour and ingredients dust in bakeries. These include simple solutions, such as using lidded containers for storing, mixing flour as sensible speeds, and ensuring cleaning excess flour regularly.
On larger scales, however, dust extraction equipment is needed. This will help reduce dust levels and maintain health and safety guideline compliance. Near the extraction point, a manometer should be installed to monitor the effectiveness of the extraction and to check that the system is operating correctly. In some areas of the site, mobile dust extraction units may be necessary, as well as flexible arms and extraction hoods.
Our accredited engineers provide dust extraction systems to industrial bakeries. We also offer workplace air monitoring, site surveys, spares and new installations with compliance to HSE and HSG258.
If you are responsible for health and safety in a large scale bakery environment, get in touch with one of our dust extraction experts today.