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It is likely new GBBO contestant Lyon is going to be more worried about her cakes rising than about health and safety. But there is a good chance she will have one eye on it during the show, especially considering her background.
Below SHP outlines the various risk, legal cases and occupational health issues surrounding baking.
There are four main occupational ill health risks as a result of baking.
SHP is sure Lyon will be aware of all of these issues as she enters the tent. Maybe she will be giving Paul Hollywood a bit of friendly OSH advice.
Flour dust can cause:
Flour dust is a hazardous substance as defined under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (as amended).
The level of new cases of bakers getting occupational asthma is the highest in any occupation – and this is against a background of falling rates across all industries.
Flour dust has been set a Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) comprising a long-term exposure limit of 10mg/m3 (averaged over 8 hours) and a short-term exposure limit of 30mg/m3 (averaged over 15 minutes).
Some bakery additives/bread improvers contain enzymes, such as fungal alpha amylase, which are potent sensitisers. Exposure to them should be minimised through using improvers in liquid, paste or dust suppressed powder form.
Minimising exposure be done through using health surveillance and checking employees health for any adverse effects related to work. It may also involve checking skin for dermatitis or asking questions about breathing and may need to done by a doctor or nurse.
The HSE recommends:
It also states that clouds of flour arise from throwing, disposing of empty bags, and from brushing and dusting, as well as sieving and dough making.
The advice from the HSE? “Work gently! Start-up mixers on slow-speed until wet and dry ingredients are combined. Use dredgers or sprinklers for dusting.”
Here are some links to a couple of real-life incidents:
In July, SHP reported on how bread giant Warburtons has received a £1.9m fine after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, after an agency worker was injured when his arm became trapped in a machine for 20 minutes.
The company, which registers an annual pre-tax profit of £34m, was also fined £2m earlier this year following an incident in which a worker sustained life changing injuries following a fall.
Eating raw dough for cookies and similar bakes: It’s fairly simple. If it’s got eggs in it, and it’s not been cooked, then it’s not edible.
Washing your hands: Again eggs are a main culprit here. But if you are doing bakes involving raw meats then it is equally important. Indeed, as best practice it is good to wash your hands for at least 30 seconds with warm water and soap.
Keep surfaces clean: Anti-bacterial and sanitising sprays is the way to go.
Perishable items: Don’t leave them out in the warm kitchen. if you have milk, cheeses, meats, fruits and similar items which should be in the fridge, put them back in the cooler, where they belong.
Washing utensils and baking products: Again, avoiding contamination by cleaning.
Below is a comprehensive round-up of all the key COSHH issues around baking.
Dermatitis is an issue – especially if hands are wet many times a day or remain wet for long periods of time.
Control measures include:
There are a number of causes of injury in the baking workplace. Here are the areas of most risk:
Who knows how far Lyon will go in the Bake Off tent.
But practitioners can be sure that her work station may well be the safest ever on the show…