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October 14, 2014

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Going for Gold: Olympic legacy at food and drink safety event

The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) annual OHS exchange event was held in Birmingham last month, with the aim of sharing best practices and formalising commitments.

In an industry that contributes over 16 per cent of the manufacturing workforce in the UK, the day long event encouraged speakers and attendees to adhere to the federation’s pledge: to provide a safe and healthy working environment for employees.

This year had an Olympic flavour, as Pristine Condition’s Davey Snowden (previously an Olympic weight-lifter) showed how his former profession can be deployed to a company’s manual handling training programme.

Lawrence Waterman, former head of safety as part of the Olympic Delivery Authority at London 2012, attributed the project’s success (for the first time ever there were no fatalities during the construction of an Olympic park) to the project’s focus on occupational health.

As well as health and wellbeing and manual handling the day’s agenda covered personal injury claims and slips and trips, the latter being a huge concern for the food and drink industry.

The Health and Safety Laboratory’s (HSL) Steve Thorpe focused on the importance of slip resistance footwear, and what to consider when choosing the correct shoe, in particular the effect that a floor surface and a company’s cleaning processes can have.

Worryingly, the HSL’s one-to-five rating system for slip resistance in footwear showed that around 50 per cent of products available do not meet even a ‘one’ score.

It was encouraging however, to note that the general thread of the day centred on a ‘beyond safety’ approach, with the likes of KP and Mars presenting case studies of how they were implementing such an approach.

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