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A recipe for safety for food businesses

As a primary enforcing authority of Health & Safety legislation, the HSE also produce guidance addressing the main hazards in the food and drink manufacturing industry. ‘A Recipe for Safety’ is a longstanding joint project between HSE and the food and drink manufacturing industry. Although it began in the early 1990’s (since which time the overall rate of reportable injuries has more than halved), it continues to play an active in improving health and safety in the workplace. The injury rate in the food industry remains higher than Britain’s average for the manufacturing sector, so there is scope for further improvement.

To help drive improved figures and to assist food businesses with their health and safety strategies, the HSE has recently published a new publication.
This a broad advisory document for the food industry, which identifies risks in the sector, but it may help you in turn to identify realistic objectives for improvement in your business.

The publication focuses on key areas relevant to the industry including:

  • Machinery
  • Workplace Transport
  • Work at Height
  • Slips and Trips
  • Struck by Objects
  • Manual Handling
  • Work-related Stress

HSE research indicates that positive steps by management could have prevented injury in about 70% of incidents and action by workers a further 10%.

The main causes of occupational ill health in the food and drink industries are covered, including musculoskeletal disorders and back injuries; asthma – for example from inhalation of flour and grain dusts; dermatitis – from hand washing, contact with foodstuffs or chemicals; noise-induced hearing loss and work-related stress.

It also points out that there are many workers in the food and drink industries that do not speak or understand English, therefore a focus on communication, training, competence and attitude to health and safety is important.

You can access the guide here.


The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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