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Flour Dust Risk Assessment

The EH40/2005 Workplace Exposure Limits defines the following constitutes as flour dust:

“Flour dust is taken to be finely ground particles of cereals or pulses (including contaminants) that result from any grinding process and from any subsequent handling and use of that ‘flour’. Any additives (eg flour improvers) are included in this definition only after they have been added to the final product mix.”

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Flour Dust Health Effects

Like with a lot of inhalable dusts, exposure to flour dust and enzymes containing additives such as amylase are the second most common cause of occupational asthma and has been given a workplace exposure limit of:

• 10 mg/m3 for long-term exposure (averaged over 8 hours) and;
• 30 mg/m3 for short-term exposure limit (averaged over 15 minutes).

In addition to asthma, exposure to flour dust is also known to cause dermatitis. Due to both of these health effects, flour dust has been given the notation “Sen” (meaning Sensitiser) within the EH40/2005 workplace exposure limits, meaning that the ALARP principle applies where the risk to exposure MUST be reduced to A Level As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP).

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Flour Dust Risk Assessment

Flour Dust Exposure Monitoring

At Blue Turtle Ltd, we employ experienced Occupational Hygienists who specialise in assessing the current controls in place to check if they are effective, along with providing clear recommendations on what further action should be taken if additional controls are required. Our aim is to ensure that your workforce is protected from work related ill health and that your business remains or becomes legally compliant with current legislation.

A Workplace Exposure Monitoring Survey for Flour Dust should be carried out if:

  • You carry out activities involving flour (e.g. baking) but have never undertaken occupational exposure monitoring to assess flour dust exposures to personnel.
  • You are looking to start activities involving flour and are looking for advice on what controls should be considered.
  • You have had cases of ill-health relating to flour dust exposures.
  • Changes have been made to the process and a survey is required to check that controls are still effective.

It is also advised if it has been more than 12 months since your last exposure monitoring survey to have this repeated to confirm that controls remain effective.

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The Process

At Blue Turtle Ltd, we provide a professional and friendly service where a trained Occupational Hygienist will visit your place of work to conduct a survey to assess current workplace exposures, practices, current controls and to provide advice on what additional controls should be implemented. A typical flour dust assessment consists of:

  • Personal air sampling to check exposures against regulatory limits.
  • Prevention – Are there alternative options for carrying out this type of work.
  • Engineering Controls – A review of current controls and an analytical assessment of their effectiveness by carrying out personal air monitoring and/or a test and examination of your Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system.
  • Procedural/Organisational Controls – A review of maintenance regimes of engineering controls, current working practices and related procedures against industry standards and recognised good practices.
  • PPE/RPE – Review of current provision of Personal Protective Equipment and Respiratory Protective Equipment to ensure that they provide adequate protection against the health hazards.

Every survey is followed by a detailed easy to understand report which clearly identifies the results of any personal exposure monitoring or LEV test results, effectiveness of current control measures, recommendations for further improvements and any gaps in legislative compliance. The report also provides you with a risk ranked actions so that you can focus resources on the higher risk items first. We help businesses of all types manage their workplace health hazards. Our experienced consultants can provide practical advice on how to achieve adequate control through process changes, improvements, or adopting/changing work practices to reduce the risk as low as reasonably practicable.

Whatever your Occupational Hygiene needs are, Blue Turtle Ltd is here to help your business protect your workforce and help you meet your legal obligations.

Give us a call today to discuss your needs or if you prefer, complete the online form with a brief outline of your business needs and/or concerns.

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