According to the World Health Organisation, “Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018”. And lung cancer accounted for 2.09 million cases. Furthermore, inhaling certain types of dust found in the workplace, over a long period of time, can cause lung cancer. These dusts include, for example, silica dust and wood dust.
Saturday 1st August 2020 is World Lung Cancer Day. For this reason, we are taking a look at this most common type of cancer. In addition, we will examine how workplace control measures can help to prevent it.
Lung Cancer Caused by Silica Dust
Silica is a natural substance found in rocks, clay and sand in varying amounts. Sandstone contains 70 – 90% silica, whereas granite contains about 30%. Many construction materials contain silica. These are, for example, bricks, mortar, concrete and tiles. Cutting, grinding, drilling or polishing these materials creates a fine dust called respirable crystalline silica (RCS). Over time, workers with no protection inhale RCS deep into their lungs.
The human eye cannot see RCS under normal lighting conditions because it is too fine. For construction workers, it is the biggest risk after asbestos. RCS can cause lung cancer and other lung diseases. These diseases include silicosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma, following prolonged periods of exposure.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE),
“Over 500 construction workers are believed to die from exposure to silica dust every year.”
The HSE has produced resources to help you control your workers’ exposure to construction dust. These resources can be found here. HSE’s Control of Exposure to Silica Dust is also a useful publication.
Employers must comply with The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002. This states that for RCS, control measures must keep exposure below the Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL). The WEL for RCS is 0.1 mg/m3 respirable dust, averaged over 8 hours.
Lung Cancer Caused by Wood Dust
Wood dust is a known cause of lung cancer and other cancers, such as nasal cancer. It can also cause other diseases, such as asthma.
According to lung cancer physician, Lynne Eldridge, MD,
“While wood dust is more strongly associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, both people who are exposed to on-the-job wood dust, as well as those who work in occupations associated with the dust, have elevated rates of lung cancer.”
Read more from Lynne Eldridge, MD about wood dust exposure and lung cancer risk here.
As with RCS, COSHH regulations require that you protect workers from the hazards of wood dust. There are different WELs for hardwood and softwood dust. The WEL for hardwood is 3mg/m3 based on an 8-hour time-weighted average. This WEL also applies for mixtures of hardwood and softwood dusts). Finally, the WEL for softwood dust is 5mg/m3 based on an 8-hour time-weighted average.
The HSE recommends ways you can limit your workers’ exposure to wood dust here.
To summarise, you need to put in place controls to help protect your workers against lung cancer and other diseases caused by inhaling dust. These include providing them with the right respiratory protective equipment and putting in place effective dust extraction and local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems, such as dust extraction benches and hoods and other dust extraction systems.
Get More Information
It is well known that those who work with certain types of materials and products in the workplace can be at risk of ill-health due to the dust particles they emit.
Here are 5 facts about dust, however, that you may not be aware of.
1. It’s Not Just Your Lungs That Are at Risk
Most people are aware that breathing dust can cause all sorts of health issues, such as asthma and lung cancer. But did you know that dust particles can also be swallowed and get into:
- the digestive tract where it can cause irritation,
- the blood stream where it can damage other organs and tissues,
In addition, dust particles can get:
- into the eyes where they can cause eye damage or irritation, and
- onto the skin where they can cause ulceration and irritations, which can lead to dermatitis.
2. The Risks Are Greater Than You Think
Some types of workplace dust are more harmful than others. Hazardous dusts which are common in some industries include:
- Asbestos – asbestos still kills around 5,000 workers each year (more than the number of people killed on the road)
- Flour – flour dust and enzymes containing additives such as amylase are the second most common cause of occupational asthma.
- Grain – grain dust (from barley, oats, wheat etc.) also contains contaminants, such as bacteria, fungal spores, insect debris and pesticide residue!
- Silica – silica dust is released when stone, bricks or concrete, are cut or broken. In June 2019, the Health & Safety Executive HSE announced it would increase its testing of dust levels at construction sites.
- Wood – carpenters and joiners are four times more likely to get asthma compared with other UK workers because of wood dust.
3. Not All Dusts Have a Workplace Exposure Limit
Some dusts have COSHH Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs). WELs provide a guide for employers for controlling exposure. So, for example, silica dust, which is particularly harmful to health, has a WEL of 0.1mg/m. Other dusts may not have a WEL but might still be hazardous. According to the HSE,
“A dust is considered to be a substance hazardous to health under COSHH if it is present at a concentration in air equal or greater than 10mg/m3 (for inhalable dust) or 4mg/m3 (for respirable dust) as a substance hazardous to health.”
At this concentration or below, it is widely believed that any exposure to dust is to be kept as low as possible.
4. Some Dusts are Combustible
Certain dusts are combustible under certain conditions, as highlighted by the HSE. Wood and flour dusts are both combustible, as well as the dust from powdered ingredients, such as sugar custard powder, instant coffee and dried milk. Read more about combustible dust here.
5. You Can Be Fined If You Fail to Have Your Dust Extraction System Tested
Most employers are aware that they need to have the correct control measures in place to protect their workers from the hazards of dust – and there are various measures to suit different working processes. But if you use dust extraction systems (LEV) and don’t get them tested as per the requirements of the law, then you could be fined.
The law states that you must maintain your local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system so that it continues to provide the necessary protection. A thorough examination and test should be conducted at least every 14 months. Furthermore, you must keep a record of the test for at least 5 years. Information should also always be displayed on the LEV system to verify that it provides adequate protection.
For more information about HVDS dust extraction solutions, click here. To enquire about a dust extraction survey for your facility, please click here. To enquire about a thorough examination and test of your LEV system, contact us here or call us on 01785 256976.
Two members of our dust extraction department, Stephen Jackson and Christian Taylor, have passed their P602 theory exam. Now they just need to complete two case studies and they will be P602 qualified.
What is the P602?
The P602 is a British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) local exhaust ventilation (LEV) training course in LEV Basic Design Principles. The course equips delegates with the theoretical and practical knowledge to design LEV systems. Most importantly, on completion of the course, delegates are able to commission, examine and test LEV systems. In addition, they are able to prepare suitable LEV records (manuals, log books etc.)
Both Steve and Chris already have the P601 qualification (Thorough Examination & Testing of LEV Plant) under their belts. The P601 is a prerequisite for the P602. Another prerequisite of the course is to have a good understanding of the HSE’s Guide HSG258.
What the P602 equips you to do
On completion of the P602 training course, among other things, delegates should be able to:
- Design a basic LEV system
- Calculating an appropriate benchmark for selecting the correct hood
- Design partial enclosures, receptor hoods etc.
- Perform commissioning tests
- Prepare the necessary records of the basis of the design
- Specify an appropriate fan
- Calculate system pressure loss
Who is the P602 suitable for?
The qualification is suitable for engineers, health and safety professionals, technical staff etc. In fact, the course is for anyone who has day-to-day involvement with the specification, design, testing, occupational hygiene and contract management of LEV plant.
Other BOHS LEV courses
The P602 is part of a wider programme of BOHS qualifications (P601, P603, P604, and W201). Firstly, these qualifications serve to help engineers gain professional recognition through BOHS. Secondly, the P602 LEV Design qualification also meets the membership criteria for the Institute of LEV Engineers (ILEVE) and the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE).
Well done to Steve and Chris for passing their P602 theory exam. We now wish them well as they start on their case studies.
Chocolate is one of the most popular flavours the world over. Manufacturing chocolate or with chocolate as an ingredient presents its own challenges from an indoor air point of view. In this article, we take a look at a couple of those challenges and how HVAC systems can correct the manufacturing environment to create the optimum conditions for working with chocolate.
It is essential to maintain the correct relative humidity when manufacturing with chocolate. Chocolate absorbs moisture easily and this can lead to a multitude of issues, including the chocolate becoming too sticky, losing its shape or texture, acquiring unsightly spots on its surface etc. Furthermore, once spoiled by moisture, it is impossible to restore chocolate to its original condition.
Applying a chocolate coating by dipping by hand or mechanically enrobing, for example, requires the right humidity for the chocolate to set with a uniform distribution. 50% relative humidity is recommended for this particular process.
Controlling the humidity in other areas of the manufacturing facility, such as in the packaging room, is equally as important. If chocolate absorbs moisture, it can develop ‘sugar bloom’ – a patchy white discoloration on the surface of the chocolate.
The cooling coil in the air handling system (AHU) removes the humidity from the air. Condensed water from the air drains away and the dryer air then heats to the correct operating temperature.
For chocolate or chocolate coated products, temperature is very important. Even the slightest deviation in temperature can cause problems.
The melting point for chocolate is around 34°C, just below human body temperature. Temperatures higher than this could cause the chocolate to lose its shape, texture or taste.
Low temperatures, on the other hand, can cause condensation and surface spots to form on the product if transferred to a warmer place prior to packaging. It is therefore vital to maintain the correct temperatures throughout the production facility. Temperatures must also be consistent inside a particular production area – with no hot spots.
Optimal temperatures depend on the process, but for dipping or enrobing, a temperature of 24 – 27°C is recommended, and for storing chocolate, the temperature should be 16-18 °C.
The cooling and heating coils in the AHU are responsible for cooling or heating the air to maintain the right temperature. If the air is below the ‘set point’ temperature, the heating coil will increase the air temperature, and if above, the cooling coil will decrease it to bring it to the ‘set point’. For more information, click here.
Manufacturing in the right conditions will also help to maximise shelf-life.
There are a lot of dust challenges with chocolate. Cocoa, sugar and dried milk are all Atex rated products, which means they are potentially explosive under certain conditions. AHUs installed in areas with potentially explosive atmospheres have to comply with ATEX directive 2014/34/EU. It is also essential to keep all system explosion relief valves, explosion panels etc. maintained and checked.
Powdered ingredients can also be harmful to human health, as they can cause lung and skin irritations, which can lead to long-term health conditions. Manufacturers are obliged to comply with COSHH regulations to keep indoor air clean and safe for employees. Removing traces of the product from the air is therefore essential. There are a variety of dust control solutions. Local exhaust ventilation is one of the best ways to ensure clean air in your facility.
Find out more about how to prevent food factory powder explosions here.
Our air handling and dust extraction experts are here to help. If you have any questions, please get in touch on 01785 256976 or contact us here.
This article is a summary of our whitepaper of 8th June 2020 on HVAC pandemic considerations for food production sites with regard to indoor air quality (IAQ) both during and post the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance is of relevance to anyone with responsibility for food safety and the health and safety of employees and has been collated from a variety of sources.
Uncertainties still remain about how the coronavirus is transmitted, however, experts are recommending certain HVAC engineering controls to help prevent airborne transmission. These recommendations should be used in conjunction with other measures, such as social distancing, PPE and hand hygiene etc.
Avoid Recirculating Air
Experts agree that ventilation systems that normally run with a recirculation mode should now be configured to run on full outside air where possible. According to the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers CIBSE), you should avoid recirculating air, ‘‘unless this is the only way of providing adequately high ventilation to all occupied rooms’.
Review Ventilation Strategy
CIBSE also states the importance of conducting a review of your ventilation strategy. According to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), you should take into account any measures you might have put in place in response to the pandemic, that might be restricting the air flow, e.g. partitions for social distancing of employees. The HVDS risk assessment template is available to help you conduct a comprehensive survey. Contact us for more details.
Increase Ventilation Operating Times
The Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA) recommends increasing the air supply and exhaust ventilation operation times of mechanical ventilation systems. As HVAC systems are tailored to the specific requirements of individual sites, the ventilation rate need to be considered in conjunction with relative humidity, temperature control, air flow direction and air flow distribution. For this reason, systems should be adjusted by HVAC engineers, as advised by a ScienceDirect paper, How can airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors be minimised? published online by Elsevier Ltd. on 27th May 2020.
Implement a More Frequent and Rigorous Cleaning Regime
HVAC experts are predicting the increased significance of ventilation hygiene going forwards. According to the BESA, ‘It is more important than ever if systems are operating on full fresh air that ductwork is properly clean’. It is also important to note that a facility that has moved to a higher risk category because of changes as a result of the pandemic, will require more frequent ventilation cleaning. Cleaning should be carried out in accordance with the BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8.
Increase Frequency of Air Filter Changes
In addition to increased cleaning, the BESA also advocates more regular filter changes to stop microbial growth on filters. At HVDS, we recommend the more preventative course of action of changing filters to a set schedule rather than to pressure drop readings.
Consider using a Finer Grade of Filtration
For buildings that require a higher level of contamination control, HEPA filters are able to catch 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. Not all air handling unit fans, however, are have the capacity to create the additional airflow necessary to push air through HEPA filters. However, secondary filters can be increased to F9/ISO 16890 ePM1 80%.
Check Rotary Heat Exchangers for Leakage
HVAC systems with heat exchangers may carry virus-laden particles via leaks from the exhaust air side to the supply air side, which can re-enter the building under certain conditions, according the REHVA. CIBSE recommends bypassing the thermal wheel – or where this isn’t possible, turning off the rotor and increasing the ventilation rates. Leakage is not an issue if an HVAC system is equipped with a device that guarantees 100% air separation between the return and the supply side.
Test and Maintain Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Equipment as Normal
The HSE have stated that it is essential to continue to carry out regular inspection and testing of LEV equipment throughout the pandemic as normal. To comply with the law, a thorough examination and test (TExT) of LEV equipment must be undertaken every 14 months to protect employees from hazardous substances, such as dust, fume, mist, spray and oil in the workplace. In its ‘return to work guidance’, the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) stresses that the ‘HSE is not issuing exemptions or relaxation of these requirements’. According to the HSE, if your LEV system is restarting after a period of inactivity, it must be examined and tested prior to use.
For more information on HVAC pandemic considerations, see our whitepaper of 8th June 2020. The information contained both in this article and in the white paper may be subject to change as the situation with regard to HVAC and the pandemic is in constant review. As ever, we aim to bring you the latest thinking to help you keep your on-site indoor air clean. See also our Coronavirus Resource Hub to keep you safe and up-to-date. The hub includes all the latest food industry news, which is updated daily.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the Institute of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers (ILEVE) “formed to promote the Science, Understanding, Education, Art and Practice of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineering”.
ILEVE raises awareness of the importance of clean air and ventilation in the workplace. The organisation aims to reduce ill health due to airborne contamination. It also focuses on competence in the practical application of local exhaust ventilation (LEV). Removing hazardous substances from the air is key to reducing lung disease associated with the workplace. Furthermore, removing these substances can reduce the risk of contaminants coming into contact with the skin. This can consequently help reduce incidences of skin disease in the workplace,
“ILEVE has been established to promote air quality in the workplace and to reduce ill health and death due to airborne contamination and hazardous substances in the working environment.”Institute of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers
All individuals involved in LEV activities (such as sales, design, installation, commissioning & testing) should become members. And membership competency cards display their accredited fields of expertise.
“Membership grades are awarded based on LEV industry experience plus the points accredited in the grading process.”Institute of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers
The organisation is affiliated to the Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE). It works to provide its members with information and best practice guidelines. In addition, it provides a career path for LEV engineers. One of its aims is to provide a higher profile and support for LEV engineers and acts as a voice for the profession.
ILEVE developed the P604 training module in partnership with BOHS. The course supplements the BOHS P601 and P602. Furthermore, it provides advanced practical and theoretical knowledge of LEV. This, in turn, proves competence for TExT (Thorough Examination and Test) and system design.
For help with LEV on your site, contact our ILEVE accredited engineers here or contact HVDS on 01785 256976.
Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems remove hazardous dust, gas and fumes from the air to keep the air workers breathe safe. Consequently, the regular testing of systems will ensure they are functioning correctly. In this article, we look at the legal obligations of an employer with regard to LEV testing.
The symptoms of respiratory disease tend to take a long time to appear after exposure. For this reason, the consequences of exposure are not appreciated. Furthermore, when symptoms appear, they are irreversible.
Respiratory diseases caused by exposure to hazardous substances in the air include: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), occupational asthma, silicosis, cancer, pneumonia and mesothelioma. In brief, putting the right controls in place and maintaining those controls adequately makes respiratory disease preventable.
Certain processes in the workplace generate dust, fumes, gas, mist, oil or spray, which can be harmful to health. Therefore the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations say that employers must take measures to minimize workers’ exposure to these substances. COSHH Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) outline what these limits are.
Exposure means uptake into the body. Employers can take appropriate measures to minimize this uptake, such as using lidded containers, vacuuming and wet cleaning surfaces rather than brushing, providing personal respirators etc. However, for very dusty processes you will need to install a LEV system. A LEV system will remove dust particles from the atmosphere and maintain health and safety compliance. Moreover, in certain areas, mobile dust extraction units might be necessary.
HSG258 outlines the principles and good practice of choosing, designing, commissioning and testing LEVs. First and foremost, it is targetted at suppliers of LEV goods and services. It is also helpful for employers and managers. Download the latest copy of the HSG258 here.
There are 3 types of assessment listed in HSG258. These are:
This is a Thorough Examination and Test (TExT) of a system, for when a system is first installed or when there have been any alterations to the system.
This is a Thorough Examination and Test (TExT) of a system and is a mandatory statutory assessment at the frequency outlined in the next section.
These are weekly visual assessments to ensure that the LEV System is in good condition.
Testing During the Pandemic
LEV testing remains a statutory requirement and the COSHH Regulations 2002 still apply during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your business remains open and your process and machinery are running, you must still manage the risk to protect your employees.
If your process and machinery are not currently operating, according to HSE guidelines, an LEV system should be subject to a thorough examination and test prior to restarting.
According to the HSE, an employer ‘must maintain LEV system performance’. In addition, COSHH ‘Regulation 9 – Maintenance’, states that a thorough examination and test must be conducted at least every 14 months. However, it is possible to establish exact frequency of testing according to the outcome of the risk assessment, as detailed in ‘Regulation 6 – Risk Assessment’.
Maintenance regimes can be evaluated by observing evidence of poor repair such as holes in ducting or blocked and dirty extraction systems.
A record of testing must be kept for at least 5 years. What’s more, the employer, supervisor and operator must all be aware of when the last examination was conducted and when the next one is due. For this reason, all information about testing and examination should be kept on the installed LEV system for the life of the system.
LEV Test Qualification
LEV systems must be regularly tested by a qualified person. The minimum qualification needed to test LEV equipment is the P601 – Thorough Examination & Testing of Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Systems.
P601 is a British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) approved course, which is recognised by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as well as the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA) and the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).
At HVDS, we design, commission and test LEV systems. Contact us here for more information or get in touch on 01785 256976. Or for a FREE dust extraction survey, click here and fill out our online form. We’re happy to help!
Foodex is just around the corner and preparations are well underway for our stand at the NEC, Birmingham from 30th March to 1st April. This year, we have a 7 x 7m stand (J201 in Hall 20) and will be exhibiting a range of our audit compliant services, including air filtration, dust extraction, system hygiene services and fabric ducting systems.
We understand that the regulations around maintaining good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in a food production environment can be confusing. And, of course, every site is different. We’re here to help. From ductwork cleaning issues to enquiries about installing air socks in your food production area – our air handling and dust extraction specialists will be on hand at Foodex to answer all your questions.
If you are responsible for quality, hygiene and food safety in your food production facility, you’ll no doubt also have questions about how your site can comply with the BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8. If your factory handles powdered ingredients, you will be interested in coming along to Foodex to find out how you can meet CoSHH Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) to keep the air your employees breathe clean and the ATEX regulations to keep your site safe. Alongside all of this, you’ll want to understand how we can work with you to not only keep your air clean, but to guarantee audit compliance and meet your cost reduction targets – all with minimum disruption to your manufacturing process.
Come to Foodex and find out how we can design a solution to help you gain control, once and for all, over your air handling systems. Furthermore, our holistic approach means that we have all bases covered for your complete peace of mind. We’ll help you overcome your challenges and put in place the most cost-effective solution that is tailored to your site’s individual needs.
“Our vision is a future where indoor air at food production sites no longer compromises food safety. We believe in a holistic approach that upholds audit-compliant standards at all times. We invite you to be part of the transformation.”
Mark Stevens, Managing Director, HVDS
Foodex is the UK’s premier trade event for the food and drink industry and is aimed at manufacturing professionals in the processing, packaging and logistics industries. Register to visit Foodex 2020 here (it’s free). Come and see us on stand J201 in Hall 20. Follow us on LinkedIn to keep up to date with all the latest information on IAQ for food manufacturers. For more information about Foodex, click here.
Our dust spares supply and installation business is booming. Customers want to be able to order the dust spares they need and have them fitted by trained engineers. At HVDS we do just that.
Our range of high quality state-of-the-art dust spares are designed for use in all makes and models of dust/fume/oil/mist extraction equipment. Our list of spares in stock here at HVDS includes LEV filter cartridges, filter socks and sleeves and pocket bags. We can also supply and fit, among other parts, filter regulators, damper motors, ducting, pressure gauges, valves and diaphrams and seals.
For your peace of mind, our accredited engineers will conduct regular LEV examinations and mechanical service inspections. HVDS LEV test engineers are P601 trained. P601 is the BOHS course for LEV engineers, which qualifies them for ‘Thorough Examination and Testing of Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems’. The LEV examination will highlight any maintenance requirements and the need for any replacement parts.
We have a dedicated dust extraction team. Jane Boon is our Dust Aftermarket Sales and Contracts Manager. Jane looks after our customers’ requirements for dust spares. She also coordinates engineer visits at a time to suit you. Jane says,
“We can offer you full system maintenance to keep you up and running and help you stay compliant at all times.”
HSE compliance is a major concern for manufacturing sites where dust, spray, mist, fume and oil is a challenge. Our service and dust spares are HSE and HSG258 compliant. Furthermore, maintaining your system it working at maximum efficiency will also help to prevent equipment failure and breakdown and reduce cost and energy use.
It was a long day and we got up very early to attend (4am!) but Food Safety Europe 2020 was as useful, relevant and informative and as we had hoped.
If you have any sort of responsibility for food safety in your organisation, you might want to consider attending this event next year. It’s a one-day conference held at around this time of year (February), which brings together food safety professionals to exchange ideas, pick each others’ brains and network.
The day comprised of presentations and panel discussions about various food safety and hygiene-related topics. These sessions were interspersed with networking coffee breaks where delegates mingled and browsed the various exhibition stands showcasing the products and services of the event sponsors.
This year saw a good mix of organisations exhibiting, including the event organiser – BRCGS, Bayer, Lloyd’s Register, SpaceVac, Klipspringer, Activate Lubricants and Campden BRI, to name but a few… and of course, ourselves.
As a Silver Sponsor of the event, we also gave one if the presentations, which was about the importance of taking a holistic approach to managed indoor air quality, and was delivered by our Air Filtration and Ventilation Consultant, Tony Carvell.
This year’s Food Safety Europe was a ‘completely paperless’ event, meaning that all information about the conference (programme, speaker information, feedback surveys etc.) was on the AttendeeHub app. As part of our presentation, we conducted a quick poll among the audience via the app. The question we asked was:
Approximately how many people in the world fall ill every year after eating contaminated food?
- 6 million
- 60 million
- 600 million
- 6 billion
Do you know the answer? (Answer at the bottom of this post)
Among other talks was a presentation by Lloyd’s Register about remote auditing, an update by the Food Standards Agency and a talk by McDonalds about managing food safety risk in the face of changing diets. All talks allowed for a 5-minute question and answer session afterwards, and questions could be asked in person or via the app.
The conference was held this year on Wednesday 12th February at County Hall in London. We were this close to the London Eye!
And a word about the food at the event – delicious! We couldn’t wait for the next networking break to find out what was coming next.
As well as gathering a lot of useful information, we made some good connections too and caught up with a few existing contacts. A successful day all round and we look forward to the next one.
The answer to the poll question above is: 600 million
For more information about HVDS’ air filtration and ventilation products and service for the food industry, please contact us on 01785 256976 or get in touch here.
This week we filmed our new corporate video on location at customer premises. We captured footage of our engineers doing what they do best, such as testing LEVs, changing air filters, conducting surveys, cleaning ductwork, maintaining air socks, monitoring workplace air and inspecting air handling units.
The video was shot at a UK food factory and the day’s filming involved engineers from the HVDS Hygiene Team, air filtration team and dust extraction team and was also attended by HVDS Marketing Manager, Rachel Robb. Rachel says,
“We wanted to create a video that accurately showcases our services so that prospective customers would know what to expect from HVDS. We think this video will get under the skin of what we do by showing the engineers in action on site.”
The filming was carried out by film and video production company, Lilac Films with Steve Cranston behind the camera. Steve has produced professional corporate videos over the years for local and national organisations. http://lilac-films.com/
Once edited, the new corporate video will feature on the HVDS website www.hvds.co.uk and will also be played with subtitles on the HVDS stand (J201 in Hall 20) at Foodex 2020 at the NEC in Birmingham from 30th March to 1st April this year. Rachel says,
“We’re really looking forward to seeing the finished product. Lilac Films are great to work with and we’re very impressed with the work Steve has done so far.”
As well as capturing the corporate video footage, Steve also took some stills during the day showing various aspects of the engineers’ work and the equipment they were working on, such as dust extraction units and air handling units both in the factory roof void and externally.
For more information about HVDS services, please contact us here, or to find out more about what our engineers could do for your business, please contact our team on 01785 256976.
2019 was a very busy and successful year for HVDS and 2020 will see us building on that growth. Here is what is in store for the company this year.
New Members of Staff
We welcome Christian Taylor, who joins our dust extraction team as Projects and Contracts Engineering Manager. Christian will be helping customers with new dust extraction system installations. For a new installation quote for your site, get in touch with Christian at email@example.com
As manufacturing sites continue to prioritise regular ductwork and flue extraction cleaning, we will continue to recruit engineers to our Hygiene Team. The team performs deep cleans of systems all over the UK to keep them energy efficient and audit compliant. To book your deep clean, contact us here or to enquire about a cleaning engineer role at HVDS, check our careers page here.
Our Food Industry Air Filtration and Ventilation Consultant, Tony Carvell, will be speaking at Food Safety Europe 2020 in London on 12th February. The BRCGS event, which takes place at County Hall, is a firm favourite with HVDS, as it brings together food industry professionals to discuss various aspects of food safety. It is an opportunity to share knowledge and learn from industry experts. Tony’s talk is about why it is important to take a holistic view of Indoor Air Quality. To book your place at Food Safety Europe 2020 or to find out more, click here.
We will also be exhibiting at Foodex 2020 at the NEC, Birmingham, from 30th March to 1st April. This will be the fourth time we have taken part in this show, and this year’s stand is the biggest and best for HVDS yet, showcasing all areas of our business including air filtration, fabric ducting, ductwork cleaning and dust, fume, mist, spray and oil extraction. Come along and see us on stand J201 in Hall 20.
After the success of our eFUSION™ app in 2019, which gives you 24/7 access to your air handling and air hygiene reports, we are proud to announce the MAXAIR™ app for our customers benefiting from our dust control service. The app will keep all your reports in place for easy access and audit purposes. More information to follow.
New for 2020 is our risk assessment template. In checklist format, this template guides you through everything you need to consider in order to comply with BRCGS Food safety Issue 8. It also highlights the level of risk where no action is taken. If you would like a copy of our risk assessment template, or would be interested in a full risk assessment by our trained engineers, please get in touch.
At HVDS, we recognise the value to our customers of providing useful information to help them maintain good Indoor Air Quality. For this reason, we are putting together a suite of resources that can be downloaded from our website for free. These include, for example, data sheets for each of our products, our HACCP Plan Template, our service brochures and checklists, such as this one about how to prolong the life and get the most out of your fabric ducting.
In 2020, we will continue to build on these resources. If there is anything you would find particularly useful, please drop us a line to let us know and we will do our best to provide it.
We will continue to listen to our customers to ensure we are giving them what they need and want. To help us with this, at the end on 2019, we conducted our Annual Survey. This highlighted the challenges our customers are facing and their priorities for the coming year. The results of this survey will be out later this month. Watch this space!
On behalf of the team at HVDS, we wish you all a happy and successful 2020!
Why Has Welding Fume Guidance Been Revised?
In February this year, HSE issued a safety alert about a change in control requirements for exposure to welding fume, including fume from mild steel welding. This was as a result of new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly also kidney cancer in humans. HSE has now revised its guidance on exposure to welding fume and has published the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) advice to help ensure that any welding fume released is adequately controlled.
During 2020, HSE inspectors will be visiting businesses across the UK to check that they are complying with the law on welding fume. In order to comply, you need to understand the risks and put the recommended measures and controls in place.
What is the New Guidance on Welding Fume?
‘Task specific COSHH guidance for welding, cutting and allied jobs’ outlines specific guidance on these areas, including advice for manager, and can be read here. HSE has also published guidance on its web pages and this can be read here. A brief summary of this guidance is outlined below.
A Brief Summary of the HSE Guidance on Welding Fume
HSE states that all welding fume can cause lung cancer, asthma and other health conditions, and that as an employer you must protect your workers’ health by controlling the risks from welding fume, no matter small an amount of welding your workers do.
“All welding fume can cause lung cancer”
Health and Safety Executive
HSE lists controls you should put in place. These include:
- using alternative cold joining techniques
- welding in a way that produces less fume
- local exhaust ventilation (LEV)
- respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and personal protective equipment (PPE)
- maintaining control measures and good general ventilation
- making sure welders understand the risks and how to use controls
For more information about health risks from welding, click here.
Controlling the Risk
1. Avoid or Reduce Exposure
HSE advises employers to think about ways to avid or reduce exposure by using alternative joining, cutting or surface preparation methods that produce less fume and/or dust. Considerations include, for example, automating or mechanising the process and using materials that generate less fume, e.g. MIG welding, instead of MMA welding.
2. Use Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)
Where you can’t avoid welding, HSE advises employers to use Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). This is a form of fume extraction and, therefore, helps to remove contaminated air from the process at source. For advice on choosing the right LEV for your process, click here. For more help and information about an LEV for your workplace, get in touch with our dust and fume control specialists at HVDS here.
3. Use Suitable Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
Where it is not practical to provide LEV or where LEV alone cannot achieve adequate control, you must provide your employees with suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE).
For more information about controlling the risks from welding, see the HSE guidance here.
Maintaining exposure controls
HSE lists ways in which you should monitor the effectiveness of the controls you have put in place to protect your workers. These include following instructions on how to use equipment, keeping equipment in good working order, repairing any faulty equipment immediately etc.
A risk assessment will reveal whether or not you need to put a system of ongoing health checks in place. This health surveillance will help to detect any health hazards, protect workers’ health by early detection of changes or disease and evaluate control measures.
Health surveillance for exposure to welding fume as an asthmagen should include regular questionnaires and spirometry.
Although not required by law, health surveillance for exposure to welding fume as a carcinogen might include keeping individual health records for all workers exposed to welding fume. This record should include a historical record of jobs in their employment with you involving exposure to a known carcinogen. Records should be kept for at least 40 years.
Workers must be informed that, where not properly controlled, fume and dust from welding and cutting can cause lung cancer and other lung conditions. HSE lists the training workers should receive with regard to the health related aspects of welding and what they must do to protect themselves from exposure. This training includes how Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems work, how to properly use an LEV system and how to ensure their system is working properly. For more information about maintenance and testing of LEV, click here. HVDS offers a full LEV testing service. Get in touch on 01785 256976 or contact us here.
“Training should include how local exhaust ventilation systems work”
Health and Safety Executive
For advice and a FREE survey of your LEV systems to make sure they are protecting your workers as effectively as possible, please get in touch with our dust and fume specialists here.
Note: Employers must consult their workers and their workers’ representatives regarding workplace health and safety arrangements.
Where Can I Find More Detailed Information?
For more detailed information on the welding fume exposure recommendations contained in this article, see the full guidance here.
For help with choosing the right LEV for your workplace or for LEV testing and maintenance, please get in touch on 01785 256976
This article looks at the combustible nature of powdered food substances and how to prevent explosions.
The Danger of Ingredient Dust and Powder
One of the most overlooked aspects of working with ingredients in a food production facility, is the fact that some ingredients have the propensity to cause explosions. These substances include, for example, flour, sugar, dried milk, custard powder, instant coffee and soup powder. Common processes that can create explosive dust in the food industry are flour and provender milling, sugar grinding, spray drying of milk and storage of whole grains. Other processes include using finely sprayed oils, mixing with potable flammable solvents and certain sterilization techniques.
According to the Health and Safety Executive,
“If any combustible substance is mixed or suspended in air at the correct concentrations and contained in a vessel or building when ignition occurs, then a violent explosion can result. If it is uncontained then a fireball may occur.”
On 14th August 2015, a worker at Adams Foods in Leek, Staffordshire, suffered facial burns after a powder explosion. A spokesman for Adams Foods, which supplies ingredients to retailers, said,
“A member of staff working on the production line received minor injuries. Emergency services were called and the incident is now fully under control with all other production lines operating as normal.”
Fortunately, the injured worker was discharged after being treated at the Royal Stoke University Hospital. However, another similar incident could result in far more serious, and even life-threatening injuries. For more information on this story, click here.
For a FREE dust extraction survey of your site, please click here.
What Causes Powder Explosions
Powder explosions are caused by combustible powdered substances in the air, coming into contact with a source of heat.
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) are concerned with preventing or limiting the instance and harmful effects of such explosions.
According to HSE,
“In DSEAR, an explosive atmosphere is defined as a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture.”
Considerations When Working with Combustible Powders
In order to operate your process plant safely and to meet DSEAR requirements, you must take the appropriate precautions. These precautions relate to storage and handling, pneumatic conveying systems, chokes etc. To read the recommended precautions, please click here.
Another issue to consider is your ductwork, which can get clogged with extracted dust particles. As well as presenting a significant fire risk, a massive build-up of can dust can even cause ducting to rupture, as a manufacturer of morning foods found recently. Please see our case study for further details.
Download our brochure about HVDS’ dust control services here.
HVDS offers a full dust control solution as per HSG258 and according to COSHH and ATEX regulations.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO),
“Dusts are solid particles, ranging in size from below 1 µm (micrometre) up to at least 100 µm, which may be or become airborne, depending on the origin, physical characteristics and ambient conditions.”
Dust can be created by manual processes, such as cutting, crushing and grinding and particles can be so small that they are invisible to the naked eye. Different types of dust also carry different risks to human health and can be classified into three types: L Class (Low Risk), M Class (Medium Risk) and H Class (High Risk). Each class has a maximum allowable concentration, which is essential for employers to understand.
L Class Dust (Low Risk)
L Class dust is of lower toxicity and includes simple house dust, soil, general construction dust/waste, soft woods and solid surface material. The workplace exposure limit/maximum allowable concentration (MAC) for L Class dust is >1 mg/m3. This means that you need a dust extractor that catches 99% of the dust. For L Class dust, there should be a Filter Leakage no greater than 1% of the collected dust.
M Class Dust (Medium Risk)
Dusts in the M classification include hard woods (e.g. oak and beech), board material/man-made woods (MDF), repair compound, filler and clear coats, cement, tile cement, brick, mortars (silica), concrete dust, quartziferous materials (e.g. sand) and paints, such as oil paints and latex. They present a medium degree of risk to human health and the workplace exposure limit/maximum allowable concentration (MAC) for M Class dust is ≥ 0.1 mg/m³. Thismeans you need a dust extractor that catches 99.9% of the dust. For M Class dust, there should be a Filter Leakage no greater than 0.1% of the collected dust.
H Class Dust (High Risk)
H Class is high toxicity dusts containing pathogenic or carcinogenic particles, as well as asbestos, mould spores, bitumen, mineral fibres and artificial mineral fibres, like glass wool. They present a high degree of risk to human health and the workplace exposure limit/maximum allowable concentration (MAC) for H Class dust is < 0.1 mg/m³. This means you need a dust extractor that catches 99.995% of the dust. For H Class dust, there should be a Filter Leakage no greater than 0.005% of the collected dust.
Another category of dust, as highlighted by Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is combustible dusts. A combustible substance, mixed with air and with the addition of a source of ignition will cause an explosion. Workplaces that typically produce potentially explosive atmospheres include those handling fine organic dusts, such as wood or flour dust and those where processes release flammable gases or vapours, such as vehicle paint spraying. The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) make employers responsible for eliminating or controlling the risks from explosive atmospheres in the workplace. According to HSE,
“In DSEAR, an explosive atmosphere is defined as a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions*, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture.”
*Atmospheric conditions are commonly referred to as ambient temperatures (–20°C to 40°C) and pressures (0.8 to 1.1 bar).
There are two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres: Directive 99/92/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 137’ or the ‘ATEX Workplace Directive’) and Directive 94/9/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 95’ or ‘the ATEX Equipment Directive’).
Dust Control Considerations
It is important to use the right dust extraction equipment. In fact, HSE are giving out substantial fines where the wrong/no dust extraction equipment is being used.
When choosing dust extraction equipment the following should be taken into account:
- Type of dust you need to control (L, M or H Class, explosive dust)*
- Volume of dust to be extracted to match the extraction rate
- Storage capacity of the extractor
- Disposal of dust – with secure disposal required for H Class waste
* most L and M Class dust extractors will have similar suction rates and filtration levels
Different types of dust present different risks. At HVDS, we help you choose the right dust control solution for your particular workplace. For more information contact us here. To find out more about our dust, fume, mist, spray and oil extraction service, click here.
Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems control substances hazardous to health and every company providing LEV extraction equipment has a legal requirement to comply with COSHH Regulation 9, in order to protect its employees.
“Proper maintenance is a vital part of any control regime and inspectors and enforcement officers should ensure that employers comply fully with regulation 9, particularly where there is exposure to substances that can cause cancer or asthma.”COSHH Regulation 9 – Maintenance
How An LEV System Works
Many processes create harmful dusts, fumes and vapours that are hazardous to health. LEV systems use extract ventilation to transport these airborne contaminants away from the employee’s breathing zone. Pollutants are drawn away from the process by means of an extraction hood, booth or other device placed over or around the area in which the harmful substance is being released. Ducting to the inlet of a fan is connected to the device so that the extracted air can be discharged to the atmosphere or cleaned and then released.
LEV Testing Frequency
In order to ensure that your system is in a good state of repair and works efficiently, a thorough examination and testing should be carried out a minimum of every 14 months. In some cases, examinations should be more frequent. If you are unsure how frequently your LEV system needs testing, please contact us here.
Employers must keep a record of LEV testing and examination, including any remedial repairs undertaken as a result of the examination and test, for a period of at least 5 years.
How We Can Help
We provide a comprehensive LEV testing service to ensure your systems are compliant. Our accredited engineers are trained to BOHS standards and will carry out an examination according to COSHH Regulation 9 (HSG258) See the HSE publication, Controlling airborne contaminants at work: A guide to local exhaust ventilation (LEV), for more information.
We also provide Workplace Air Monitoring and will provide a full report of your current Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
For more information about our dust extraction service, please click here. Alternatively, please contact us on 01785 256976 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Due to continued company expansion, we are currently recruiting for an LEV Testing & Mechanical Service Engineer. For more information about this role, please click here.
At HVDS, we have a very dedicated team of specialists in dust extraction. Their commitment to our customers is second to none. So when they gain their BOHS LEV qualifications and pass their exams with flying colours, we can only feel a sense of great pride in the knowledge that they will be using their new skills to serve our customers even better.
Pictured here are Darren Carvell, our Dust Extraction Specialist, and Jane Boon, our Dust Aftermarket Sales & Contracts Manager. They have both successfully completed the BOHS P600 course (Methods for Testing the Performance of Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems) with only one point off full marks!
A few days prior to this success, our Dust Extraction Manager, Carl Latham, passed his P604 theory exam! This success can be added to Carl’s other LEV qualifications and BOHS accreditations (P601, P602 and W201).
The P604 course (Performance Evaluation and Management of LEV Systems) is for engineers, supervisors, managers, health and safety professionals and technical staff who have day to day dealings with LEV equipment.
Many thanks to Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) training provider, OXYL8 Ltd, for helping our team meet the qualification and membership requirements of the Institute of LEV Engineers (ILEVE).
The BOHS is the British Occupational Hygiene Society, which provides information about managing and controlling workplace health risks. A guide to all their LEV quaifications can be found here. The BOHS strives to create a healthy working environment for everyone.
One of our core values here at HVDS is to ‘strive for continuous improvement, in a culture of progress’. Well done to all who have recently qualified and good luck to those still awaiting their exam results.
If you would like to speak to our dust extraction experts about issues affecting your workplace environment, please get in touch here. We offer a FRE dust, fume, mist, spray and oil site survey to help you make informed decisions. Request your survey here. For more information about our dust, fume, mist, spray and oil extraction service, please click here.
In this infographic we take a look at Dust Control Systems, and what you should be checking as part of your regular maintenance schedules.
For a more in-depth look at the following points, click here:
1.) How Dust Control Systems work
2.) Prevention and maintenance of poorly kept systems
3.) How Dust Control can affect employee health and well-being
At HVDS we get a lot of enquiries from customers regarding maintenance and investigation into their current systems. It is during these investigations and surveys that we come across situations like this one.
A customer requested we investigate the reason behind a lack of extraction from their Dust Extract Unit (DEU) in their ingredients blending room.
Here is what we discovered on site.
So, what is wrong with this picture?
Our investigation found that the ductwork was severely contaminated, resulting in the reduction of the DEU’s ability to extract dust.
Solving the problem – how did we proceed?
HVDS carried out a full ductwork system deep clean followed by a DEU filter change. This dramatically improved the hygiene levels by improving the Indoor Air Quality of the ingredients room.
The clean and filter change enabled the dust extractors to begin working to their full capacity once again, resulting in a clean and compliant production environment.
What could have been done to avoid this?
A regular maintenance plan is always advised to avoid situations like this one.
While an engineers time can be limited, with other responsibilities such as production maintenance and management, the time taken to carry out regular checks can be extremely beneficial and incredibly cost effective in the long run.
How can HVDS help you
At HVDS we can offer free ‘behind the scenes’ surveys to give you peace of mind and to ensure that your production environments are compliant and working correctly.
Contact us today on 01785 256976 to find out more about our air filter and extraction solutions.
The HSE have issued the following safety alert:
There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.
The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.
With immediate effect, there is a strengthening of HSE’s enforcement expectation for all welding fume, including mild steel welding; because general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control.
What you need to do:
- Risk assessments should reflect the change in the expected control measures.
- Make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV).
- Ensure that suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration. This includes welding outdoors.
- Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE (respiratory protective equipment) should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
- Ensure that all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required.
- Make sure any RPE is subject to an RPE programme. An RPE programme encapsulates all the elements of RPE use you need to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.
How can HVDS help:
Should you have any questions about the impact of this on your business, our LEV technical specialists and engineers are here to assist. Get in touch today on 01785 256 976 or email email@example.com.
The food processing industry, along with other industries such as medical and pharmaceuticals, has the necessity for clean rooms that can monitor particle count, type, and size, and therefore require dust controls systems to remove potentially dangerous particles from the air that can cause an explosion and are also necessary for the breathing safety of employees. In essence, dust control is essential for maintaining workplace safety.
So, how do dust control systems work?
Simply put they work by capturing particles and accumulating them in a collector until safely disposing of them, somewhat like a large and powerful vacuum cleaner.
Fans create a suction that draws the particles suspended in the air to the collector via ductwork. In the collector, the contaminated and clean airs are separated. For example, a system will push the contaminated air into the top of the collector and once inside will force it downward to the bottom. The contaminants hit the sides of the collector and then fall to the bottom while the clean air is pushed out and into another filtration system to collect the finest particles.
Why is dust control so important?
The twin threats in a food processing environment are deflagration (combustion that propagates through a gas) and disease. Both threats are caused by a fine powder of particulates that accumulate in the air within these facilities. The most efficient way to neutralize both risks is to remove these suspended particles from the atmosphere.
Deflagration is an explosion caused by the extremely rapid transfer of heat through the air and factories. Processing plants that allow suspension of particulates to propagate are setting up the environment for such an explosion. In fact, a secondary explosion usually follows, precipitated by the rapid rise in pressure caused by deflagration. As the explosion picks up fuel from the air and spreads, it can become even more destructive than the initial detonation. The entire facility can be levelled, resulting in massive loss of life and material. Dust control removes particles from surfaces and the surrounding atmosphere and significantly minimizes this danger.
In every heat explosion, there are three elements present, known as the “fire triangle”, these are oxygen, heat and fuel. When these elements are present, an explosion occurs. If suspended particulates accumulate in the air, their combined surface-area-to-volume ratio makes them highly combustible and even what may seem to be ordinary, everyday substances can become a risk.
Of course, removing heat sources is very costly and often difficult. The most effective way to minimize the risk of deflagration is to remove the elements of dispersion and fuel from the surrounding environment. This is most easily accomplished through dust control.
So, neglecting dust can have explosive consequences. Substances regularly used in industrial cooking and baking including flour, sugar and various powders, all have the potential to explode.
When substances are finely ground inside baking and cooking appliances they can create a dust cloud. This dust, when suspended and mixed with air, can cause large and even fatal explosions.
Bag tip units and bulk silo venting equipment is sometimes overlooked, but it is vital in the food manufacturing industry. These systems help reduce the amount of dust that is left over, dust that has the potential to cause explosions in the future.
Prevention is better than cure so actions such as: –
- Looking at where equipment is positioned and ensure there are no leakage points around handling systems that produce dust.
- Vacuum clean-up systems can also be used to ensure vessels and equipment are left scrupulously clean.
Let’s also take a look at the health risks for workers in a food processing plant. We know that suspended particles are readily inhaled and so removing powders from surfaces and air will minimize the health risks associated with working in these plants. Although the lungs can expel most powders to some extent, they cannot eliminate them entirely. Over time, these substances collect in the lungs and may result in irreversible health conditions. So once again, dust control is critical for safeguarding employee health.
There is something known as “Farmers lung” which can be caused from particles expelled by grains. Farmer’s lung can cause fibrosis, or scarring, of the lungs. This results in reduced breathing capacity and makes it more likely that cancer and other chronic diseases will develop. While removing a source of heat may help curtail deflagration to a point, it will not eliminate the health risks caused by suspended particles. Only dust control, performed through filters and vacuums, can accomplish this.
Prevention and Maintenance
It goes without saying that neglecting dust can have serious consequences and substances that are commonly found in the food processing industry such as flour, sugar and various powders, all have the potential to explode and so preventative maintenance is vitally important.
What sort of maintenance requirements are needed for dust control systems?
The following maintenance activities need to be carried out:
- The collector and filters must frequently be cleaned to enable the machine to run properly.
- The fan and electrical switches and boxes have to be frequently cleaned.
- The cooling vents of the machinery must be kept clean as well to prevent the machines from overheating.
- There should be an inspection for leaks in the vacuum hoses or ductwork after the cleaning. Leaks make the machine less efficient and can actually spread the contaminated particles rather than collect them.
Employee Health & Wellbeing
Employees are the most valuable asset to any business. As well as a moral obligation to protect a company’s workforce, there is also a legal obligation.
Dust that is produced as a result of food production, can also have serious effects on the health and wellbeing of employees. Exposure to dust can cause serious skin conditions and even occupational asthma, when flour dust is breathed in. In fact, respiratory conditions among bakers are now the highest of any occupation in the country.
The HSE sets a long-term Workplace Exposure Limit of 10 mg/m3 (averaged over 8 hours) and a short-term exposure limit of 30 mg/m3 (averaged over 15 minutes). Breaching of these standards can result in severe penalties, loss of productivity due to employee sickness and even legal action.
Last year, an employee from a baking company in Southampton was awarded a five-figure sum after developing occupational asthma due to over exposure to flour dust. For small or large food manufacturers, looking after employee health by reducing dust exposure is vitally important.
Also, in late 2016, a bakery company in Stevenage was fined over £36,000 for failing to comply with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) standards — a very real threat to smaller businesses.
The HSE is continuing its proactive assessment of food manufacturers for dust control and issuing penalties for the breaching of standards, but it is not just the threat of being penalised that means it is vital for the industry to take dust control more seriously. It should be about the what that companies go about their business. “This is the way we do things around here”.
A final word on the environment
Whilst most food products by their nature are not hazardous to the environment there is still a legal obligation to comply with emissions according to EPA.
For more information and advice on dust control, air filtration and ventilation contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.