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Problems Implementing and Maintaining a Knife Control Policy


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#1 trubertq

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:46 PM

We are having terrible trouble with knife control. It;s virtually impossible to implement because of the funny shifts and shifts at different times etc...Yesterday a bread knife was found on the floor that someone had taken in from home...



The locked box is not working because there isn't always someone in the office to open and sign knives in and out.



Has anyone any ideas how I can come up with a way of controlling knives that solves these problems???


Causing grief and aggravation in the factory, me becoming unpopular ( not that that matters a hoot),.....


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#2 KTD

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 01:17 AM

If there is someone always in the office to open the lock box, and knives can be signed in/out...can you not use disciplinary or other actions to enforce the program? Maybe some more details on how/why the knives are falling through the cracks would help...


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#3 trubertq

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 12:01 PM

If there is someone always in the office to open the lock box, and knives can be signed in/out...can you not use disciplinary or other actions to enforce the program? Maybe some more details on how/why the knives are falling through the cracks would help...


There isn't always someone in the office to sign in and out the knives. The office is locked out of hours but we have shifts running in the evening and people need knives. I have suggested we allocate responsibility to one person from each shift for knife distribution but that is difficult too because the gangs change depending on who is available, and also there is resistance to the implementation of this. There is a lot of chat about the time it takes to dispense knives and count them back in... I don't see the problem myself but then I am not doing it. We also have 3 seperate facilities so if a kniofe is needed in one of the other production areas someone has to walk up here to get it... Frankly I am fed up listening to the complaints andthink people just need to get on with it :dunno:
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#4 Simon

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 05:48 PM

Can you write or attach your current procedure so that we can review it and give you some ideas to help you implement it successfully.


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#5 D-D

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 07:12 AM

Causing grief and aggravation in the factory, me becoming unpopular ( not that that matters a hoot),.....


Frankly I am fed up listening to the complaints and think people just need to get on with it


A kindred spirit!

As to your second point, I picked up a good phrase on here - JFDI (just ****ing do it!). That's just about where I am now. I am putting in place perfectly reasonable procedures and systems and if people don't like them, I tell them we will find others that do.
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#6 Jens Therkelsen

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 09:27 AM

I guess you have risked assessed the use of knifes and your policy is based upon this assessment. Some of the risks you have identified are probably that the knife of parts from it can end up in the final product.

If your product lines are equipped with metal detector or X – ray detectors then you could use knives that are fully metal detectable like this product: http://www.martor.de...ctable.html?L=0 whereby you eliminate the need for a rigorous knife policy.








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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 11:17 AM

Dear Jens Therkelsen,

Somehow, i doubt that an auditor would agree with the logic in yr suggestion.

Ingenious selling philosophy though ??.

@trubertq - the obvious question is why no access to the office ? Nobody is trustable by Management ? or Nobody is willing to keep the key ? Been there both ways. My sympathies.

Rgds / Charles.C


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#8 DP2006

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 08:29 AM

trubertq, I don't know what sector of the industry you work in but how about considering the following:-

Whilst it might seem too simplistic, what about using a "Tool Accountability Board" where small pieces of equipment eg knives are clipped to a wall mounted board against a painted silouette of the item. Items are taken from the board and returned on completion of a task. This gives a visual check of equipment at shift start / end. This approach is widely used both in the petfood industry and at ingredient suppliers to the pet food industry (industries where I have a lot of supplier quality assuarnce / auditing experience) where foreign bodies of all types can be a problem. Also works for other items such as plastic scoops.

Regarding the "bread knife" brought from home. In addition to the tool accountability issues, surely the reason why someone brought this to work is key? For example, are there sufficient knives available for the operators to work safely and efficiently? Are the existing knives "fit for purpose" ie do they work or is a "bread knive" from home a better tool for the job?

Regarding enforcement, whilst there maybe an argument for the "just ****ing do it!" school of management / supervision, what about making operators pay for the tools they use or an element within the pay structure whereby "fines" are paid for items that go missing (hopefully not into the product). Draconian maybe and solutions that HR might not like but it might focus minds on the importance of tool accountability, even if only used for a campaign.

Good luck.
DP2006


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#9 lovelin

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 12:41 PM

In our company , knife is distributed to each staff with their own responsibility for proper use. Staff make some mark or number on the handle and place it in the sterilizer after their work. Issuence of new knife is with the replcement of old one only. Otherwise company apply some penalties on them help us to control this problem.

regards..Lovelin
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#10 wijit

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 12:28 AM

As has been touched upon, I would suggest a numbered knife register is kept with knives signed for and issued only once. The register need only be a document (controlled) but a copy could be taken with you on GMP audits etc. with random checks being completed whereby you would check to ensure knives are being used only by the person they are issued to, to try and ensure there is no "borrowing" going on.
I'm an infrequent visitor here, much to my shame, but I hope this may be of some use.


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#11 wijit

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 12:31 AM

Of course, when I say issued, I meant each knife is issued to an individual and it is that persons responsibility to ensure no-one else has access to it/them. This can apply equally to food utility knives as well as tool-type knives, such as Stanley or fish knives.


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#12 trubertq

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 01:21 PM

Thanks everyone,

There are some good suggestions there for me to bring to the table at the next meeting. The problem with the office being locked is , that it is the production manager's office, and she locks it when she leaves.



I am considering going down the road of safety knives individually marked and issuing them to each person, to use as they need them and then charging for a replacement, though I kind of like the idea of the tool board with the sillouette idea too.
I work in shellfish processing, and really losing a knife will not impact on the crab line as the crab are whole and therefore have a protective shell to start with.

Auditors ask for these things though and in truth, having a knife policy creates more non-conformances than it solves, which to my mind is counter intuitive... however ours is not to question why, ours is to pass audits with the least NCs possible.



I will keep you informed of the outcome....


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#13 D-D

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 12:07 PM

In each area I have put a tool list that also includes fixed blade knives, which are engraved with a reference number and formally issued to the operator in that area. We have low risk, enclosed processes and tools and knives are then checked weekly for damage and loss.
However for safety knives in the warehouse (and some production areas where cardboard and plastic is cut) i.e. the 'penguins', 'fish' and klever-kutters etc where the blades are all enclosed in plastic, I am pretty much treating them as disposables as they will become blunt quite quickly and need to be thrown away and replaced. Is that going to be acceptable?


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#14 Charles.C

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 08:59 AM

Dear D-D,

Thks for above.

Bur what do you do when a knife is found to hv "disappeared" at the weekly check ? I fear an auditor will not recognise the categorisation of a "low-risk" missing knife. (It is amazing how knives can travel. :smile:)

@Trubertq - it appears that you hv a problem of (a) access/trust and (b) knife control. The second is IMEX indeed hard to satisfy other than by accepting the time involved in doing daily rigorous checking (particularly if you have a lot of knives). The first is simply regrettable.

Rgds / Charles.C


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#15 D-D

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 07:09 PM

But what do you do when a knife is found to hv "disappeared" at the weekly check ? I fear an auditor will not recognise the categorisation of a "low-risk" missing knife. (It is amazing how knives can travel. :smile:)


Hmmm... I understand that but what is the real food safety risk to a pail of oleoresin or a drum of citrus oil? A knife could be lost, as could another tool like a spatula, a glove, a pen, a container cap, the list could be endless. We have some knife control because the standard asks for it but it is no more a risk than anything else that is equally as unlikely to end up in the product (we have never had such an incident). I am happy to implement the requirement in the drive to raise standards but it is difficult to know where (we are allowed) to draw the line...
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#16 Charles.C

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:07 PM

Dear D-D,

I agree that this is by no means an easy control issue.

In fact forum discussions on this topic go way back (2003) and I hv selected a few which illustrate different aspects much better than I could. The first one "justifies" and details a claimed workable system. The 2nd one has a bit more on blade selection while the 3rd is a brief link to an available forum procedure/form.

http://www.ifsqn.com...indpost__p__225

http://www.ifsqn.com...ndpost__p__2770

http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__29660

In a somewhat darker vein, can try posts #7 - #17 of the (classic) thread below which depicts a hypothesised disaster scenario and some (im)possible fallout -

http://www.ifsqn.com...ndpost__p__1485

Rgds / Charles.C


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#17 Tony-C

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 03:49 AM

We are having terrible trouble with knife control. It;s virtually impossible to implement because of the funny shifts and shifts at different times etc...Yesterday a bread knife was found on the floor that someone had taken in from home...

The locked box is not working because there isn't always someone in the office to open and sign knives in and out.

Has anyone any ideas how I can come up with a way of controlling knives that solves these problems???

Causing grief and aggravation in the factory, me becoming unpopular ( not that that matters a hoot),.....


Is it possible to fix (chain) them in place?

Regards,

Tony
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#18 GMO

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 07:17 AM

We have similar issues and it is a pain. The new version of BRC requires you to investigate for lost knives so IMO it's best not to issue one to every person, otherwise, how do you know when it's been lost?

I think I might have been the person who said sometimes you just have to get to the point of saying "JFDI". Seriously though, here are some suggestions and it will take hard work and support from your operational collegues.



A magnetic or "peg" board so the knives have a location where they should be stored.

A sign in and out sheet for knives located with the board which includes a check on the blades for damage at the start and end of shift (it doesn't matter that there's no-one to sign them out from).

Training against this procedure including the reasons why (metal hazards are a real risk, as a PP said, it's amazing how far foreign bodies can travel, I would not be assured by the crabs having shells!) also include the fact that non conformities on audit = lower grade = less business = less work. Ensure the training is documented.

Regularly audit for compliance. Allow two strikes, i.e. find anyone not following the procedure, rebrief all staff and remind them off the rules, sign them off against this brief. Find the second person, rebrief all staff, ensure they sign off against the brief stating if you find anyone failing to follow the rules again there will be disciplinary action. Third time, take that disciplinary action. Ensure you have operational and HR support for this before you start, there is nothing worse than threatening to be tough and failing to follow through. It will be easy to identify who hasn't done it, as you audit, find people with knives and see if they've signed them out. Simples. You will also then have three separate occasions where the person has signed to say they will follow the rules so it will be very cut and dried in disciplinary terms. Tough? Yes but it will only take 4 instances in total I think and you will have an operations team who are (grudgingly) complying.

I agree it's a pain but as you said, technical isn't about being popular.


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#19 trubertq

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:37 AM

Is it possible to fix (chain) them in place?

Regards,

Tony



The knives or the people???:whistle:
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#20 trubertq

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:41 AM

I am going back to first principles here...the knife policy has completely broken down . We are getting all metal safety knives and I am going to fly the peg board and the disciplinary action idea this morning.... wish me luck ....


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#21 GMO

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:22 PM

Good luck. As I said, get everyone on board before you start. If you do go down the 3 strikes (or even a single strike) disciplinary approach, I guarantee the first person you catch will not be the persistent offenders but someone who is generally a good worker but slipped up. I'm not suggesting you sack them, but even if it is the "general good guy" you still need to look at a verbal warning as an example to others.


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#22 Terrabell

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:18 PM

Could each shift be issued with their own locked box of knives that the shift Chargehand / Team Leader etc. is responsible for? Could they then be kept in an area other than the office so they have access to them?
Just a thought Posted Image


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#23 jorgeoaleman

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:00 PM

That is a good philosophy to live by...so long as you can do it assertively (tactful) but not aggressively.

Jorge

A kindred spirit!

As to your second point, I picked up a good phrase on here - JFDI (just ****ing do it!). That's just about where I am now. I am putting in place perfectly reasonable procedures and systems and if people don't like them, I tell them we will find others that do.


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#24 Setanta

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:37 PM

I am experiencing this issue anew. We've been asked to get a knife registry by our SQF Auditor. I am not 100% clear or rather understanding of the reason, since we have a metal detector as a CCP. This is checked frequently (hourly) and any failed tested requires rework back to last successful test. We have had no customer complaints for knives found in our product.

I have tried implimenting a knive registry and I struggling to have the numbers of what knives are checked in to match what was checked out.
Our process is that we have our set up person place the knives on the line for use first thing in the AM. They are checked in at mid-shift, cleaned, sanitized and reissued. Then on 2nd shift, they are checked in at mid-shift, cleaned, reissued and checked in at the end of the shift.

Often our numbers for mid shift do not add up, let alone the ones at the end of the day. I know the auditor is going to want us to have a corrective action for those times when the numbers do not add up, but I do not have the luxury of stopping everything while seaching for a knife. I have attached my knife check in/check out form and welcome questions and any assistance you could provide.

For reference, the knives are used for opening packages, and some trimming of product. We have separate knives that are used on the outside of totes, cardboard boxes and the like.

Sincere thanks!
S.

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#25 Tony-C

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:32 AM

I am experiencing this issue anew. We've been asked to get a knife registry by our SQF Auditor. I am not 100% clear or rather understanding of the reason, since we have a metal detector as a CCP. This is checked frequently (hourly) and any failed tested requires rework back to last successful test. We have had no customer complaints for knives found in our product.

I have tried implimenting a knive registry and I struggling to have the numbers of what knives are checked in to match what was checked out.
Our process is that we have our set up person place the knives on the line for use first thing in the AM. They are checked in at mid-shift, cleaned, sanitized and reissued. Then on 2nd shift, they are checked in at mid-shift, cleaned, reissued and checked in at the end of the shift.

Often our numbers for mid shift do not add up, let alone the ones at the end of the day. I know the auditor is going to want us to have a corrective action for those times when the numbers do not add up, but I do not have the luxury of stopping everything while seaching for a knife. I have attached my knife check in/check out form and welcome questions and any assistance you could provide.

For reference, the knives are used for opening packages, and some trimming of product. We have separate knives that are used on the outside of totes, cardboard boxes and the like.

Sincere thanks!
S.


Hi Setanta,

I expect the auditor is concerned the metal detector won't pick up small bits of blade.

Have you gone through the process of managing the types of knives/blades used? (No snap blades etc.)

Example knives

Attached File  KFIS_prod_knives(3).jpg   234.55KB   40 downloads

Shame your register didn't work. What type of blade/knife do you use for each operation? and how many? Your checks should be based on risk, not just blanket check of everything.

Is it possible to add the checks at start/end of shift to production/operations documents? (I include critical items to check such as glass as well)

Kind regards,

Tony
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