In the bakery

This information is for people that work in bakeries, flour mills, kitchens and food preparation areas. It gives information on things in the workplace that could damage the lungs and advice on how to protect them.

What are the hazards?

These are some of the hazards you may come into contact with at work.

  • Flour

    Working with flour creates a lot of dust, and can lead to dust clouds in the air.

  • Dusts

    From improver products and other ingredients like egg, soya, spices, citrus oils and flavourings.

  • Cleaning products

    You may also be exposed to cleaning products, including:

    • Benzalkonium chloride (quaternary ammonium compound) – found in disinfectants and cleaners for floors and hard surfaces
    • Chlorine-based agents (sodium hypochlorite) – the main ingredient in bleach
    • Some scents within cleaning products, e.g. limonene, which gives some products a citrus smell
    • Isothiazolinones – used in some washing up liquids and laundry washing liquids

Smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung conditions like COPD and lung cancer

If you smoke, you will be at a much higher risk of developing a lung condition.


How can your health be affected?

How to protect yourself

Your employer has a responsibility to ensure the work environment is appropriately ventilated and that you are provided with protective clothing and appropriate safety advice.

Here are five easy things you can do to ensure you're doing everything you can to protect your lung health at work.

  • Assess Risk

    Do risk assessments to make sure you are doing jobs safely and efficiently.

  • Ventilation

    Make sure that your work area is appropriately ventilated so that cleaner air can come into the room.

    Make sure you have a dust extractor and that it is switched on and working.

  • Work carefully

    Avoid making dust clouds:

    • Load ingredients carefully
    • Transfer flour with a scoop
    • Start mixers up at the slowest setting
    • Clean up any spilled ingredients straight away
    • Roll bags of ingredients downwards and away from you
    • Use a flour shaker when dusting flour
    • Avoid using powdered enzymes; try to use gel or microgranules instead
    • Keep lids on dough bins
    • Clean up using a wet mop or an industrial vacuum
  • Wear the correct mask

    A mask can stop you developing a work-related lung condition caused by inhaling hazardous substances.

    Different masks are available in a range of sizes and designs, so if you are having trouble using a mask supplied by your employer you should discuss the options for using a different kind of mask.

  • Health Check-ups

    Get your health regularly checked – either through a health scheme at your workplace, or by regularly seeing a healthcare professional.

More information