A London-based bakery was struggling to keep on top of flour dust and wanted to make a change for their workers' wellbeing.

We’ll take you through the dust issues they were facing and how they were successfully resolved. 

The Client 

Earlier this year, we at Dust Arrest were approached by IL FORNAIO, a commercial bakery supplying both retail and own-brand customers. Based in London, IL FORNAIO is one of the UK's largest independent wholesale producers of high-quality breads. 

The Requirement 

After searching online for bakery-compliant ATEX-rated extractors, IL FORNAIO reached out to us about reducing staff exposure to harmful flour dust, looking to meet HSE and insurance guidelines. 

The Dangers Identified 

Flour dust can be hazardous when breathed in, especially over extended periods of time. For this reason, a Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) of 10mg (about the weight of a grain of table salt) per m3 averaged over 8 hours or 30mg (about the weight of a grain of rice) per m3 averaged over 15 minutes is in place. 

Workers in bakeries are constantly handling flour, whether that’s loading flour into mixers, sieving flour, dusting flour onto surfaces in preparation for kneading or rolling, putting empty flour bags in the bin or even when sweeping flour into piles whilst cleaning. 

Airborne flour dust can lead to both irritation of the nose and skin, resulting in a runny nose and itchy, sore skin – both unpleasant and annoying for workers to be dealing with on a regular basis. It can also cause respiratory sensitisation, leading your workers to develop an allergic reaction. Leading on from this, regularly inhaling large quantities of flour dust can irritate the respiratory system and eventually lead to occupational asthma, which is also known as ‘baker’s asthma’.  

Alongside the health risks, excessive airborne flour dust can pose a risk of explosion when exposed to a source of ignition. When solid substances are ground finely, they ignite more readily with minimal ignition required, resulting in intense explosions. Yes, I know that sounds extraordinary, but in bakeries this type of combustion is a known regular hazard! 

The Solution 

We strive to minimise airborne dust as much as possible. Our Dust Arrest team visited the IL FORNAIO bakery to have a look around and assess any problem areas and how we could help with these.  

We then gave our advice and recommendations on which of our air filtration and dust extraction products would best suit the layout and needs of the bakery.  

We assisted IL FORNAIO with the installation of the products they purchased and supplied training for staff on how to effectively remove flour dust from surfaces using our ATEX-certified vacuum cleaners. We even got a chance to show off the dust extractors visibly pulling the flour dust from the room! 

As part of the service we provide, we also offer ongoing support to our clients, whether they require assistance with other areas of the business or replacement filters and parts for their machinery. 

The Benefits 

Following Dust Arrest’s intervention, IL FORNAIO were happy to report that they had met the requirements for insurance and HSE expectations. 

They also informed us that we had saved them over 50% in comparison to what they had paid for previous systems which weren’t successful. On top of the savings, they told us that they now had peace of mind over their staff’s health and wellbeing and had also reduced their time spent cleaning by approximately 30%. 

We have since continued working with IL FORNAIO on other business requirements, such as oven cleaning vacuums. 

The Outcome 

Michael Williams, from IL FORNAIO, spoke about how we helped his business become health and safety compliant by removing excess flour dust from the factory: “I am very happy to recommend you to anybody.” 

Get in Touch 

At Dust Arrest, your safety is our priority, and you can rest assured that our friendly team of experts will always be on hand to answer any questions you may have. 

Why not get in touch with us today to see how we can help you meet and exceed health and safety regulations in your business in the most cost-effective way possible?  

You can either give us a call on 0800 980 0105, drop us an email on sales@dustarrest.com or access our contact form here. 

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