Baker - common causes of asthma

Flour dust and enzymes containing additives such as amylase are the second most common cause of occupational asthma. They also cause dermatitis.

It can affect workers in bakeries, flour mills and kitchens.

See COSHH Essentials - baking for detailed advice on control.

Top tips

  • Work carefully - avoid raising clouds of dust.
  • Either use dust extraction or respiratory protective equipment for dusty tasks.
  • Never sweep up or use compressed air. Clean up using wet methods or an industrial vacuum cleaner.
  • You need regular health surveillance.

Reduce disease - reduce exposure to dust

Dust clouds arise from throwing flour, disposing of empty flour bags and brushing. Bag emptying, sieving, dough making and dusting tasks all create a lot of dust.

Work gently! Start up mixers on slow speed until wet and dry ingredients are combined. Use dredgers or sprinklers for dusting.

Case studies

These case studies are all real incidents with real and often serious long-term consequences for the people involved.

Further information

More general advice for employers


You can find more guidance and information for bakers on the Asthma publications pages.

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