Last issue we learned how the professionals keep their facilities free of vermin and how you can implement the same practices in your own home. Do you wonder how the large food companies keep their facilities so clean and spotless to ensure you get the highest quality product? I don’t know about you but I don’t always remember how long ago I cleaned behind the fridge, or how often I clean the range hood grills. Was it last month? Last year? The professionals use a fabulous tool to track cleaning that you can as well to make sure all is done on a regular basis and it’s called a “sanitation schedule”.
Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a cleaning schedule that is posted in a convenient location where everyone can see it. It lists every component, every apparatus, every location that food touches and every other nook and cranny from receiving to production to packaging to the warehouse and finally shipping. Also on the schedule along with each item listed is when it should be cleaned, who’s responsible to make it happen and when it did happen. This ensures a uniform and continuous cleaning program that you can also schedule high traffic and critical areas for more intense cleaning.
You can do the same thing for your home. Great areas, to begin with, would be the kitchen and bathrooms. So what do we need to clean? Use a critical eye and look around the kitchen and break it down. Don’t forget any surfaces. As an example, I have behind the refrigerator scheduled as an annual chore and then for the stove vent hood, it’s done along with the grease traps and vents every other week May-Sept and then up to once a week Oct – Jan when we do more cooking and entertaining. How about inside the refrigerator? The door shelves, the produce storage bins, the ice bin. All items you may miss but with your sanitation schedule, you are confident they’re clean and fully operational. Don’t forget the pantry and other cabinets as well that you use to store food items. When you’re cleaning them also keep an eye out for signs of infestation like mouse droppings and that food is properly sealed so it won’t entice unwanted visitors.
Get the kids involved too by allowing them to make a cleaning schedule for their own rooms as well as other cleaning chores you may assign them. This is also the perfect time of year to get this started and a great habit to develop. So get your sanitation schedule together, (please feel free to change and tailor the name to suit your needs) and then you can run your household just like a professional.
Want to learn more? It’s easy. You can begin by subscribing to this blog or you can also research it or google it. Try the term HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) to get you started. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.
Welcome back and thanks for stopping by. Hope your April Fools Day wasn’t too brutal.
There is no doubt in my mind that TRAINING is the most important aspect of any safety program. Having employees who know what to do and how to do it without losing fingers, limbs or their lives makes for a fabulously productive shift. However training is not a one time deal but a continuous process, assembling the many layers over time such as first day safety orientation, monthly safety meetings, weekly tailgate/toolbox meetings, daily huddles, emergency drills, PPE, LOTO, operating different or new machinery, forklift certification and refreshers. The more opportunities to have open discussion on safety along with input from everyone involved makes it all the better.
To be successful at training, means you got the point you wanted to make across to the group while being focused and with a little entertaining in your message that is geared to your audience. When you tell your fable of safety to the group and end with the moral of the story you want to sound real, you want to sound credible so use situations that have occurred on other shifts or as sister plants or in trade magazines. When speaking to a group of young new workers you don’t want to sound like a lecturing dad, they’ll just tune you out and they’ll never hear the message. It helps to get them involved in the training. What’s their experience with this piece of machinery. What are their concerns and how would they handle an emergency shut off or LOTO on the packaging machine you’re featuring in this weeks tailgate/toolbox meeting. Also use hand outs, videos and demonstrations to help your presentation.
It does take work to ensure all the training. When I had 64 employees working at 10 different stations on a shift, to get the weekly toolbox/tailgate completed you need to stagger the meeting. Went to the first station and spoke with the 5 workers there about the topic and got feed back, then continued down the hall to the next station and spoke with the 7 workers there and continued through out the shift until I had made contact with all. If there were no fires to put out that shift I might get to all 64 but sometimes it takes two days to get it done. To accomplish a monthly safety meeting I’d split the shift in half to keep production going, limited but at least not stopped and do one group early in the shift and the second half after first breaks. There are always ways to get it done, don’t be afraid to be creative. Even though these meetings are critical you can’t help but take some time away from production and that’s where some companies go crazy.
Thirty minutes for a safety meeting!? Did you guys have a party last night? Those are just a few of the comments I would get but didn’t care since wasn’t about to discourage people from asking questions or interrupting them while they discuss a serious safety concern. But this too is solvable by making friends with the head production scheduler. We sat down and had coffee and learned about each other’s goals and for those days he could give us light nights I would get safety meetings done and still make our daily production goals. Win, win.
However, there are still those companies that believe spending money on training is a waste. Like our friends at, Dollar Tree stores cited again and fined maximum for putting workers at risk. This has become an annual event finding the same safety violations occurring again and again and now the state of Washington is fining them $306,000 for willful violations. Willful means the company knew they were putting workers in danger but didn’t bother to do anything about it. It’s kind of hard not to block emergency exits or electrical panels when you’re not trained on safety hazards. It’s hard to work safely with chemicals when your employer doesn’t train you how to properly use chemicals and how to safely and properly clean up a spill. The problem is not just putting employees in danger but any customer entering the store to do business. I would think twice if it were me. Corporate could easily fix this, but then that would require thought, carrying out a plan and spending money which are all things I don’t think this company’s executives are capable of doing.
It’s nice to enjoy your job, that’s fabulous but if you get stoned on the job, what if an emergency arises? Too Many Cannabis Industry Employees Impaired At Work. This is a serious problem and a big liability to the owners. Bar tenders are not allowed to drink on the job and I know a lot of Cannabis clubs forbid smoking by employees on the premises since in the case of an emergency someone needs to be in charge and alert! Needless to say I’m sure their training covered this and it’s up to the club to enforce the rules or they lose their credibility. It’s a shame that it’s always a few the ruin it for the rest of us due to their ignorance.
The Welsh government understands the importance of refresher safety training and are offering workshops to local farmers so they can avoid being part of the rise in farm related accidents. Farmers urged to kick-start health and safety training. Nice to see they are not looking for reasons to fine them but working with them so they can continue to be productive and in one piece. As it should be.
This professor says the workplace is the fifth leading cause of #death in the U.S. Did you hear that? 5th leading cause. This professor says the workplace is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.. You can spend less time dead. Know where emergency exits are located, listen for alarms, avoid working with distractions and most of all use all PPE that is available and use common sense.
Mark your calendars it’s Stand Down 2018–Preventing Falls in Construction : Fifth Annual Stand-Down Set for May 7-11 BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
That’s it for this episode. If you begin a new job and there is no safety training or use of PPE then it may be time to find another job. Never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save, may be you own.