Bakery workers, those working in flour mills and kitchen staff are exposed to high levels of flour dust and enzyme improvers.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) state that approximately 27,000 (just over a quarter) of workers in the industry are exposed to flour dust during the course of their work. Exposure to flour dust and improvers can result in industrial and occupational asthma or allergic rhinitis if appropriate protective measures are not taken.
The name baker’s asthma is commonly used to describe occupational or industrial asthma in bakery employees. If you work in a bakery or similar type of workplace then you are at risk if you regularly breathe in flour dust. Workers suffering from baker’s asthma do not always realise that their symptoms are work related. Symptoms can include:
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath
The symptoms are often worse during the working week and improve on days off or when on holiday.
Duty of care
Employers have a duty to protect their employees from exposure to hazardous substances by either eliminating the substance or by minimising the risk. Employers can minimise the risk to their employees of flour dust exposure by:
- substituting ingredients that are less harmful such as dust-reduced flour and liquid enzymes
- controlling the level of flour dust released into the workplace by enclosing dusty machinery and installing appropriate ventilation
- providing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a face mask to the employees
- training employees on safe working practices such as wet-scrubbing and cleaning surfaces
If you have developed asthma or allergic rhinitis and consider your illness to be related to your working conditions then you may have a claim for industrial and occupational asthma. If you would like to speak to an Industrial Disease lawyer regarding a compensation claim for industrial or occupational asthma (baker’s lung) or allergic rhinitis please call us on Freephone: 0808 164 0808 for a FREE, no obligation chat or complete the request a call back form and we will call you.