Extra fans installed at Smith's factory after worker complaints: reports

'Flaming hot seasoning' likely causing health issues for staff, union claims

Extra fans installed at Smith's factory after worker complaints: reports

Smith's Snackfood Company is installing additional fans in its Adelaide factory following complaints about health issues caused by its "flaming hot seasoning," according to reports.

The Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported that the United Workers Union filed a complaint to SafeWork SA alleging that the PepsiCo-owned company's spicy seasoning is causing health problems for some employees.

In response, a representative from PepsiCo told the news outlet that they follow several safety procedures and protocols when producing products that include spicy seasoning, stressing that their people's safety is a top priority.

"To further enhance these measures at our Adelaide site, there is mandatory mask wearing during production of this product and we are installing additional extraction fans," the representative told the AAP.

"We are committed to working with our people and the union to address any further concerns."

Health issues for staff

The allegations against Smith's include the failure to maintain safe systems of work, as employees accuse the company of improperly handling strongly irritating substances.

"The PCBU produces a hot snack product with 'flaming hot seasoning' every couple of weeks, the seasoning dispersing across the production area from the seasoning machine," the report said.

"After interviewing 13 workers from the afternoon shift, 11 reported various effects, including sneezing, coughing, eye and skin irritation, runny nose, sore throat, chest discomfort, and difficulty breathing."

The company is also accused of not maintaining a safe work environment, with employees raising concerns in the waste hall area.

"The absence of a proper traffic management plan has led to forklifts and workers sharing the same space, lacking warning signs, floor marks, or an alarming system," the report said.

SafeWork SA is currently reviewing the union's complaint to determine whether it warrants further action, according to the AAP, citing a spokesperson from the workplace regulator.

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