Prohms Logo White

Occupational Health in


Food Prohms

The food processing sector significantly contributes to the British economy, employing thousands to ensure the stringent standards and regulations for food safety are met. Balancing the dual objectives of worker safety and product quality necessitates the implementation of numerous safety protocols.

Occupational Health in Food & Beverage Manufacturing

  • Annually, 5% of workers (approx. 19,000) face health challenges due to their work environment.
  • The sector experiences higher rates of stress, depression, and anxiety compared to other manufacturing domains.
  • Notable cases of occupational asthma are prevalent.
  • For business longevity, it’s crucial to understand these specific risks.
  • Implementing effective control measures is essential to ensure employee safety.


Predominant Occupational Health Concerns in Food and Beverage Production

The food manufacturing sector sees a significant number of Work-related upper limb disorders (WRULDs), accounting for about 23% of occupational health cases. Repetitive movements, awkward postures, and lifting often result in chronic back pain.

As previously mentioned, the sector reports the highest number of stress, depression, or anxiety cases compared to other manufacturing areas.

Roughly 33% of compensation cases in the food industry, under the Department of Work and Pensions Industrial Injuries Scheme, pertain to occupational asthma, often linked to flour and bakery dust exposure.

A significant 10% of all work-aggravated dermatitis cases nationally are from the food and drink sector.

Addressing Common Hazards in the Food Processing Environment

Managing Slippery Conditions

Given the nature of food processing, spills are inevitable. The primary risk is slipping on wet or food-contaminated surfaces. To mitigate this, employees should wear anti-slip footwear, ensure prompt cleanup of spillages, and maintain clear, dry walkways.

Handling Sharp Instruments Safely

Daily exposure to sharp tools is a reality in the food sector. Proper storage and maintenance of these tools, especially knives, are crucial. Providing protective gear, like forearm guards or gloves, can further reduce risks.

Mitigating Physical Strain

Tasks like packaging, heavy lifting, and pushing trolleys can lead to musculoskeletal issues. Recognizing early signs, like frequent complaints or reduced output, can help in timely intervention. Collaborating with occupational health experts can aid in optimizing workstations and processes.

Protecting Against Biological & Chemical Exposures

Exposure to infectious agents, dust, or disinfectants can lead to various health issues. Providing access to well-fitted Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and barrier creams can shield workers from harmful substances.

Managing Temperature Extremes

Workers often transition between extremely hot and cold environments. Ensuring that they are medically fit to handle such fluctuations is vital. An occupational health advisor can provide guidance in this regard.