Food processing machinery

Injury statistics

In the food and drink industries machinery and plant causes:

Main causes of injury

Analysis of injuries investigated by HSE in the food and drink industries over a four year period highlighted the main types of machinery involved:


Purchasing new machinery

When purchasing new machinery it is important to:

Further information can be found under European CEN standards and Further guidance below.

European CEN standards

The European Standardisation Committee (CEN) has produced a number of European CEN 'C' standards which set out safety requirements for certain types or groups of food machine. If there is a published standard relevant to a machine you are purchasing, this should be specified in the purchase contract. Some standards are still being drafted.

CEN 'C' standards implement the more generic requirements of harmonised CEN 'A' and 'B' standards. 'A' standards are the basic standards which apply to all machinery, an example being BS EN ISO 12100-2:2003, Safety of Machinery - Basic concepts, General principles for design. 'B' standards are group safety standards dealing with one aspect such as electrical parts of machines, or one type of safety-related device such as two-hand control devices.

A 'CE' mark on a machine is a claim by the manufacturer that the machine is safe and complies with the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) of the supply law (for example by complying with the relevant CEN standards). However machine purchasers still need to check the machine is actually safe before use and check the EC Declaration of Conformity provided with the machine.

Pre-CEN Standard machines

Old pre-CEN Standard machines (typically made before 2000-2005) are subject to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998. This requires machinery to be suitable for its purpose, properly maintained, and safe to clean and use.

The CEN standards referred to above should be used as a benchmark for these older machines. Where the standard of safeguarding on an old machine is lower than that for a new machine (as is usually the case), a risk assessment to determine the 'risk gap' should be carried out. If it is reasonably practicable to upgrade the safeguarding to the modern standard taking into account the technical challenges, frequency of use, cost etc. then this should be done. If upgrading is not reasonably practicable, then consideration should be given to replacing the machine within a reasonable timescale taking into account any increased risk of injury from using the machine, frequency of use, safe systems of work etc..

Further guidance

Updated 2021-09-01