Survey to shed light on food and drink safety record
Almost two-thirds of the 68,650 workers in the UK food industry are likely to suffer an over-three-day accident during their working lifetime, according to the first results of a new annual survey on occupational injuries and ill health in the food and drink industry.
The survey reveals there were two deaths, 137 major injuries and 808 over-three-day injuries in the sector in 2011, across 45 companies employing almost 70,000 staff – 14 per cent of the total food-manufacturing workforce.
Commissioned by IOSH’s Food and Drink Group, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and Dairy UK, the body that represents the dairy industry, the survey aims to improve the industry’s track record and improve understanding on health and safety by gathering more accurate food-industry performance data. It is hoped this will provide focus for ongoing initiatives to make food and drink manufacturing a safer and healthier industry for workers.
Commenting on the findings, IOSH Food and Drink Group committee member Jackie Wooldridge said: “The true picture of work-related injuries and ill health across UK industry is hard to capture because reporting can be quite inaccurate.
“We only have very limited information on accidents in food and drink. We wanted to develop a reporting survey that gives us a fuller picture over the years, including a clearer view of ill health – of which there are thousands of incidents costing millions of pounds annually.”
Food and Drink Federation economics executive James Marquette commented: “The partnership between FDF, IOSH and Dairy UK has enabled us to implement a survey designed by food and drink manufacturers that collects data at the micro company level.
“Not only does this method provide more accurate data that is suited to the needs of food and drink businesses, but it also puts in place a model that better connects the industry and representative bodies. We must now continue to build on our work and expand the survey each year to cover more sectors and include more partners.”
Dairy UK processing manager Edmund Proffitt added: “Dairy UK is delighted to be working alongside IOSH and FDF on this initiative, which will allow the collation of much more detailed and relevant data. This will greatly assist industry benchmarking initiatives, and help the food sector to become an even safer workplace for all those involved.”
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