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Case Studies » Memory Lane Cakes

The Challenge

Memory Lane Cakes Ltd. is part of the Finsbury Food Group plc and operates from purpose-designed premises in Cardiff. This facility has been established for a number of years and incorporates large-scale bakery, warehouse and despatch operations.

Routine plant or bakery operations allow for reception of a range of raw materials, handling and transfer of products that may involve exposure to hazardous substances. The primary hazard is associated with substances that may generate a flammable atmosphere under certain conditions - many are in common use across the site.

Bulk ingredients such as flour, sugar and glucose are transferred directly to the plant in fixed quantities. The process described in Operating Manuals involves dispensing, mixing and mechanical transport of materials under controlled conditions to produce a range of cake products. Some of the process activities may generate dust and the plant needs regular cleandown and maintenance to minimise fire and explosion hazards.

The Solution Provided

The Memory Lane site in Cardiff has a layout designed for high-volume commercial bakery operations. Facilities include extensive storage, manufacture and oven arrangements and utilise established process technology and purpose-built equipment. Operations are overseen in accordance with a formal Safety, Health & Environmental management system – and based upon an array of relevant site expertise.

Operations at the Cardiff site may be broken down into several discrete stages. Each stage was considered in respect of process risk and potential hazards to persons at risk on site and was included in the detailed report provided to management; this was based upon survey findings and reasonable research of this topic area.

Combustible dust is a significant hazard associated with bakery operations on-site. Most flour, sugar and similar powders will contain some fine dust particulates that will readily ignite - and may present a risk of fire / explosion. Flammable dust accumulations commonly contribute to overall fire and explosion hazard but the survey evidence indicated that was not an inherent problem on-site.

The explosion properties of dust may vary where deposits contain a mixture of components or because of variation in particle size and moisture content etc. Typically a worst-case approach is taken to ensure a margin of error in determining the likelihood and extent of incident. The relevant properties for significant combustible dusts that were found to be present were considered in determining on-site fire and explosion hazards.

The report identified clearly and concisely what hazardous zoning was required and what actions management should take to ensure the risks were either eliminated or controlled based on the ALARP principles.

What Memory Lane Cakes said:

You came recommended to us by another one of our sites and certainly lived up to that recommendation. Your consultant was professional and very knowledgeable and his report has been well received by management.

Jackie Mudge
Memory Lane Cakes