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Cold store guidelines to boost safety and compliance

By Rory Harrington , 02-Mar-2010
Last updated on 02-Mar-2010 at 13:01 GMT2010-03-02T13:01:11Z

New guidance for cold store operators on working at height will improve safety and prevent companies falling foul of the law, said the industry bodies and regulators behind the project.

The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) and the Food Storage and Distribution Federation (FDSF), in partnership with the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), issued the voluntary guidelines for cold store and frozen food operators on choosing equipment for working-at-height activities within a cold store setting.

The guidance aims to provide much-needed advice for the sector and help companies operate within the law.

“Most cold store and frozen food operators require access for work at height activities,” said the BFFF. “Due to the harsh climatic environment within a cold store, there is a lack of current state-of-the-art technology providing work at height solutions for the industry. Prior to the agreement of this new guidance, many cold store operators were in breach of existing HSE guidance by regularly utilising non integrated working platforms for planned work. This meant that companies were potentially liable to prosecution and the industry lacked practical safety guidance in this area.”

The new document supplements existing HSE guidance (PM28) and is designed to help the cold store operators choose work-at-height equipment by outlining a “hierarchy of the alternatives available”, said the bodies.

High risk activity

It said that wherever possible, working at height should be eliminated as it is a high risk activity. Where this is not feasible, operators should carefully assess the risks involved. One important factor to consider is the planning, selection and use of a safe means of access. This will depend on the nature and frequency of the task to be done, as well as its duration and availability of equipment.

The guidelines are applicable to both planned and unplanned activities within a cold store environment – and are therefore not restricted to “exceptional use”. It also includes some examples of elements to consider in developing a safe system of work for the operation of lift truck and non-integrated working platform combinations.

Brian Young, BFFF director general, said: “We are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all involved in the frozen food industry. The BFFF and FSDF have worked together with HSE to provide a practical guide for the industry. This new guidance will support the industry to enhance their health and safety practices by providing relevant and practical advice for work at height solutions.”

Read the guidelines by clicking on the following link

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