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How to Tell an Employee they Smell?


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#1 Simon

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:30 PM

Not an easy one, but coming at it from an angle of being offensive to fellow employees rather than product safety how do we tell an employee they smell and have a personal hygiene or body odour problem. It could well be they have a medical condition, plain lazy or have no sense of smell. Either way it’s a very difficult conversation.

Anyone had to deal with this difficult issue? Please share you experience and tips.

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Simon


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#2 MQA

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 02:08 AM

Yes, has happened at a couple of places I have assisted.

For starters, it is implemented within the food policy. Alongside personal hygiene is also a statement about respecting your fellow colleagues sense of smell. Truly, it is.

There are two ways we go:

1. Either their direct supervisor advise them of the issue
2. Or me: the QA Manager

There is no one method to suit all. It depends on the person's personality, their culture, how severely they smell and most importantly, why they smell.

At the end of the day, what is hurting one person's feelings compared to the comfort of five or twenty people that have to put up with the smell? Besides, business is business!



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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 05:15 AM

Dear Jakmqa,

Fascinating and erudite post. :thumbup:

For starters, it is implemented within the food policy. Alongside personal hygiene is also a statement about respecting your fellow colleagues sense of smell. Truly, it is.


Unexpected support for one original concept of OPRP (critical PRP but no simple critical limit). But unfortunately not directly food-related. :smile:

In the few analogous cases i hv observed, peer pressure has unfortunately often dictated irrational (and possibly illegal) management options. I'm sure in UK this topic will be classified (somewhere) within the HSE ?

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#4 Jomy Abraham

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 05:51 AM

would like to share my idea.

Report the porbelm by thier Superior to the Health Safety Department of the organization.
HSE dept should call him for a regular medical examination along with some other guys.
Recomend the person to an external health specialist/Clinic
Convince the issue thorugh the external healt expert or doctor with remedies
Councel him by the doctor, if the problem is due to his personal behaviour.
Find medical assistance if its genetical.

Looking forward to hear better suggestions

Regards
Jomy Abraham


Yes, has happened at a couple of places I have assisted.

For starters, it is implemented within the food policy. Alongside personal hygiene is also a statement about respecting your fellow colleagues sense of smell. Truly, it is.

There are two ways we go:

1. Either their direct supervisor advise them of the issue
2. Or me: the QA Manager

There is no one method to suit all. It depends on the person's personality, their culture, how severely they smell and most importantly, why they smell.

At the end of the day, what is hurting one person's feelings compared to the comfort of five or twenty people that have to put up with the smell? Besides, business is business!







#5 Anish

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 06:21 AM

Better to deal the issue in a friendly manner and as well discussing with their superiors. Superiors should also ensure that they have sufficient uniforms and sufficient facility if they stay in company accomodation.
As jomy said - if its genetic problems how to help?. Anyone have any ideas / remedies??





#6 GMO

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 07:16 AM

I had someone seconded to me when I started a job. Everyone knew he smelled but no-one had said anything. Within my first week I'd had production complaining at being told what to do by a QA that smelled.

I took him to one side and said "you might not realise that because it's hot in the factory you might need to wash and reapply deodorant more often."

Frankly I hated having the conversation, he got the hint but was so embarrassed he left the department and returned to his normal one. Since then rather than wait for it to happen, I have put it into training documents at induction so I talk to people about how personal hygiene is really important because if a dirty smelly chef was making food for you, you wouldn't want to eat it. The prevention has seemed to work so far rather than trying to find a cure when it does happen.



#7 Jomy Abraham

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 07:27 AM

During the induction process, we always discuss the same topics. We or the employee may not be realizing the fact at that point of time. Once he gets into the production/any other dpts, peoples used to sense his smell. The question is, who will communicate/convince him at that point of time. We need a diplomatic/pshychological approach to avoid any unwanted feelings. So I think its always better to convince thorugh a reliable third person/party. Medical examinations are mandatory to work inside the food handling premises. So why cant we set as our selection criteria ( medical test report related to such personal /genetical draw backs? I am not sure about any such test reports.)

Regards
Jomy Abraham


I had someone seconded to me when I started a job. Everyone knew he smelled but no-one had said anything. Within my first week I'd had production complaining at being told what to do by a QA that smelled.

I took him to one side and said "you might not realise that because it's hot in the factory you might need to wash and reapply deodorant more often."

Frankly I hated having the conversation, he got the hint but was so embarrassed he left the department and returned to his normal one. Since then rather than wait for it to happen, I have put it into training documents at induction so I talk to people about how personal hygiene is really important because if a dirty smelly chef was making food for you, you wouldn't want to eat it. The prevention has seemed to work so far rather than trying to find a cure when it does happen.



#8 Simon

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 10:43 AM

Thanks for all the great comments. I agree it’s a very difficult conversation, but one that must be had nevertheless; if not the problem persists and likely mob rule will deal with the problem in its own ruthless way.

I know one place where they had the problem and people kept leaving deodorants everywhere he went, another guy knew that he had BO but laughed and said it was pure man smell, quite proudly.

I think the most important thing is to have a clear and simple policy documented that everyone knows about and then when it does crop up it is dealt with privately, quickly and sympathetically (at first). With a policy in place it becomes less personal and just business as other members mentioned.

The actual words you use are probably the most difficult aspect depending on who you are and who they are. Some will find it easy and some almost impossible.

Here are some good tips

Regards,
Simon


Best Regards,

Simon Timperley
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#9 foodsafetyboy

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:14 AM

IMEX, I usually give an induction training to newly hired employees and a personal hygiene refresher training (internal) for workers working there for a long time. The training focuses more on personal hygiene and other Do's and Don't's inside the production area. This way you are telling the person indirectly without making him feel bad.



#10 Simon

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 11:01 AM

IMEX, I usually give an induction training to newly hired employees and a personal hygiene refresher training (internal) for workers working there for a long time. The training focuses more on personal hygiene and other Do's and Don't's inside the production area. This way you are telling the person indirectly without making him feel bad.

I agree, although sometimes, when all else fails, you have to take the person to one side and tell them straight.

Best Regards,

Simon Timperley
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#11 Dr Ajay Shah

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:15 AM

I take the direct approach of asking them to read the Persoanl Hygiene Policy and then talking to them that they need to ensure that they wash themselves. they will get the message loud and clear.


Dr Ajay Shah.,
BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, PGCE(FE)
Managing Director & Principal Consultant
AAS Food Technology Pty Ltd
www.aasfood.com


#12 Simon

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 06:11 PM

Has anyone ever fired an employee for poor personal hygiene?


Best Regards,

Simon Timperley
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