A leading trade association for the frozen food sector, the BFFF developed the guidance in a bid to help workers avoid injuries such as frostbite.
Until recently there had been no official guidance on how to test cold insulative footwear worn at temperatures below -17C. In the frozen food industry cold store temperatures can reach temperatures from -25C to -40C.
The new BFFF recommendations have been assured by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, providing it with legal standing and a listing on the primary authority register. The association worked closely with safety equipment supplier Arco and footwear testing experts SATRA, as well as a number of members to develop the guidance.
The new methodology will allow industry members to test cold insulative footwear and insulated sock combinations to check they are suitable for their cold store environment. In addition, the guidance provides considerations for completing or reviewing cold store risk assessments.
The request for the BFFF’s involvement followed a successful civil claim case in which an individual working in a frozen cold store suffered serious frostbite. The legal team for the defending party in this case advised that the current testing method for cold insulative footwear under the current EN ISO 20345 standard only tests footwear at -17C. The tests therefore do not reflect the extreme cold temperatures adopted in the frozen food industry.
"Having first started this project four years ago, we are very pleased that it has now finally come to fruition,” said Simon Brentnall, head of health & safety at the BFFF.
“Ensuring the safety of workers in the frozen food industry is paramount, and our research into the suitability of cold insulative footwear has resulted in critical new guidance which will ensure the protection of employees working in cold stores below -17C. It's a crucial step towards ensuring the safety of industry workers and preventing future injuries.”
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