The Food and Beverage production sector has some unique industrial hygiene hazards that aren’t always as obvious as some other industries.
Bakeries have the risk of flour dust, the greatest single source of occupational asthma in the UK (and probably also Ireland). Other dusts, such as flavourings, improvers, spices etc. can act as respiratory irritants and require appropriate control measures. A relatively new area of interest in this area is the risk posed by volatile flavouring agents such as diacetyl. This is a good example of a substance which may be perfectly safe to ingest, but when inhaled in sufficient quantities can cause serious problems.
Noise is a major issue in many plants, particularly those that operate assembly lines with Ishidas or similar dispensing equipment – and the hygienic surfaces required are great at creating reverberant environments that exacerbate ambient noise.
Beverage production can involve the use of caustic chemicals, (phosphoric acid, 4-methylimidazole) hazardous or asphyxiant gases (Carbon Dioxide, Ozone as a biocide) and other substances that can pose chronic or acute health hazards.
Unusual thermal environments, particularly very hot or cold workplaces, don’t occur in Ireland naturally (unfortunately!), but can occur in ovens, cooking and processing areas, freezers and storage areas. Shorcontrol can conduct heat stress and/or thermal comfort surveys if there is a concern over risk to health in these areas.
Biological hazards can exist in areas where animals and animal wastes are handled.
Exposure to hand-arm vibration is common in the meat processing industry, from intensive use of saws, rib pullers and similar equipment.
- Assessment and control of sensitising and nuisance dusts
- Workplace noise assessments in food production facilities
- Evaluation of hazards from chemicals and gases.
- Thermal environment surveys
- Ergonomic assessments for repetitive tasks
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