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Food Production Safety Starts with Company Culture

When it comes to food plant safety, items like protective equipment and safety signs are the most visible measures, but making a plant truly safe involves much more than that. Managers, individual workers, and the right gear and procedures all play a role in heading off safety and contamination issues.

Building the Right Culture

Rules and procedures are important, but it is equally essential to have a culture that supports following those rules and procedures. As highlights, this culture starts from the top: If an organization's leadership demonstrates a commitment to a strong culture of food production safety, the employees under them are much more likely to do the same. Additional factors to keep in mind include:

  • Different teams and people in different job roles will need specifically tailored rules and expectations under which to operate. 
  • Clear, consistent messaging on food safety is essential. 
  • Different people absorb information in different ways—for instance, take auditory versus visual learners—so leadership should communicate through multiple channels. 

To ensure employees uphold these values, provide them with the gear and training they need. For instance, protective equipment (such as food grade gloves) and the proper laundering of clothing are essential, according to Food Safety Magazine . Also make sure employees are aware of hygiene procedures, such as regular, thorough hand washing. Additionally, keep in mind that it can be hard to see problems from within. Food safety consultants are a resource that can visit your plant and provide advice from a more objective perspective.

Encouraging Communication

Even with the right measures in place, problems can arise. Therefore, another critical component is empowering employees to raise safety concerns. Ensure every employee from the plant—from the lowest level to the highest—knows how to communicate problems they notice. One way to do this is to survey your employees on if they know how to raise such concerns. If they do not, provide training and the tools they need.

Encouraging Safety 24/7

Though food safety measures within a plant are essential, food safety doesn't stop there: Employees should take safety measures even before and after they're on the job. In an ideally run plant, employees will go through detailed check-in and check-out procedures for equipment and protective gear when starting and ending their shifts. Procedures must also be in place for cleaning equipment and clothing before, during, and after use.

Protection from Attacks

An unfortunate reality of today's world is that food plants need to take steps to protect themselves from terrorist attacks and other malevolent actions. Food Engineering Magazine has covered this issue in depth, highlighting how audits can help in this regard. Additionally, measures such as detailed sign-in and sign-out procedures, programs for shipping and receiving, surveillance features, and more can boost a plant's protection against attacks. The US Food and Drug Administration has also published a number of helpful food defense resources on their website.

Food Safety Consultants, PPE Supplies, & Food Safety Supplies Available from Techniclean Products

Techniclean is food safety consultant and a provider to the food production industry for an array of cleaning and janitorial supplies and equipment to make your food production operation clean and safe. Contact us or order food grade gloves, safety footwear, as well as janitorial and sanitation supplies from our website.