Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that, between April 2002 and April 2016, employees at Coopland & Son (Scarborough) Ltd were consistently exposed to risks to their health, with some being medically diagnosed as suffering from occupational asthma.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was no effective method of control to prevent the dust becoming airborne and employees being exposed to breathing in the dust.
Coopland & Son (Scarborough) Ltd of Caxton Way, Pindar Business Park, Eastfield, Scarborough pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £159,080 and ordered to pay £4,594 in costs
‘Serious and debilitating health effects’
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Geoff Fletcher commented: “Exposure to flour dust in an industrial setting can cause serious and debilitating health effects.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
The impact of bakery hygiene on worker safety has come under scrutiny from the HSE in recent months, with a special focus on flour dust – a leading cause of workplace asthma – and forms a key part of hygienic factory bakery design.
Meanwhile, in April, Typhoo Tea has seen dust levels in its tea blending facility in Wirral, Merseyside drop by 81% due to the implementation of a new ventilation system.
The company introduced the new system as high dust levels from various tea-blending products had created unfavourable working conditions for employees.