Flour dust goes to court — and loses
In the UK, a bakery company has been fined for safety breaches after its workers were exposed to flour dust.
Flour dust is a respiratory sensitiser and is known to cause allergic rhinitis and occupational asthma, with ‘bakers’ asthma’ being one of the most common types of occupational asthma. Flour dust is also an irritant and may give rise to short-term respiratory, nasal and eye symptoms, and even chronic bronchitis.
The Leeds Magistrates’ Court was told that Coopland & Son employees suffered long-term exposure to flour dust, with some developing medically diagnosed occupational asthma.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no effective method of control to prevent the dust becoming airborne and employees being exposed to breathing in the dust.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £159,080 and ordered to pay £4594 in costs
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.”
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