Foodservice operators need to be ready for ‘surprise’ inspections from HSE

A global testing, inspection and certification firm has responded to Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) plans to bolster health and safety within the foodservice sector.

Earlier this month HSE issued a statement to the food manufacturing sector, which includes restaurants and bakeries, explaining that it will be conducting surprise inspections over the coming weeks in a bid to encourgae businesses to be more vigilant in how they manage workplace health risks or face serious penalties.

The HSE hopes that the inspections will address the two main causes of workplace illnesses in the sector, occupational asthma from exposure to flour dust in bakeries, cake and biscuit manufacturers and grain mills, and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – predominantly lower back pain and upper limb disorders from manual handling activities and repetitive tasks across the sector.

Following HSE’s announcement outlining its intentions, Bureau Veritas has revealed that it believes training and monitoring could be a key factor in improving health and safety for foodservice operators.

Emma Cartwright, food sector lead at Bureau Veritas, said: “First and foremost, it’s imperative for businesses to get their training right. Implementing and maintaining a system that regularly carries out ergonomic assessments of working areas and properly teaches employees invaluable manual handing techniques can go a long way in limiting the incidence of MSDs, not only by ensuring that employees are working safely but also for the correct durations.

“The recent HSE warning that the regulator will be conducting impromptu inspections looking at how well businesses are managing their workplace health risks, makes it a compelling time for food manufacturers to review their current systems and adopt best practice in order to boost health and safety standards across the board.

“As the industry faces greater scrutiny, now is the perfect time for companies in the sector to review their current health and systems and look at ways to better protect the health of their employees.”

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