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Problems Implementing and Maintaining a Knife Control Policy


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#26 RMAV

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:21 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.


Some quick/random sleep-deprived layman thoughts...As much of a headache knife registry can be, it has it's advantages. One you eluded to is that you have a document showing that your procedure is to clean your knives and a record that they have been cleaned. Another is that you are not relying solely on a CCP to control, in this case, the physical hazard of a knife.

What is not clear with the information provided is who is responsible and accountable for discrepancies in the knife count. While the document indicates the line set up person is the one who issues the knives it is my opinion the accountability cannot stop there, at least to be successful.

So at this point, you have knives missing at times during the appointed checks/cleaning. What happens? In my mind you don't want to issue corrective action reports every time this occurs. No doubt it is going to happen, it is manufacturing after all. I would suggest building a "corrective action" into the form, that is, spelling out what happens when a knife is not returned: The line does not start back up until the knife is found and cleaned. This would be a relatively "normal" occurence. If after a reasonable search it is not found, then I would think it is time for a CAR with an investigation (to include potential risk to the product) and measures to prevent recurrence.

As to how to implement, perhaps you identify each knife and issue to each person or by location on the line so you at least have a trail to follow when looking for a missing knife, that and individual accountability for their tools. Right now, it sounds like when a knife is "missing," business continues. If you don't find it before the next shift or after break, someone on the line might find it and use it - but it has not been cleaned and *sanitized* at the indicated interval, which depending on your product/process and where it is (say...trimming product) could be a much bigger deal than the physical hazard. If I were auditing I might key in on that.

In the end it will take an emphasis by management to make knife (and tool) accountability happen...and apparently a culture change, hopefully painless.

---edit: Tony makes a great point that should not get lost, that is, this program should be *risk based*

Edited by RMAV, 30 November 2012 - 05:23 AM.

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#27 Setanta

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:08 PM

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



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



Some quick/random sleep-deprived layman thoughts...As much of a headache knife registry can be, it has it's advantages. One you eluded to is that you have a document showing that your procedure is to clean your knives and a record that they have been cleaned. Another is that you are not relying solely on a CCP to control, in this case, the physical hazard of a knife.

What is not clear with the information provided is who is responsible and accountable for discrepancies in the knife count. While the document indicates the line set up person is the one who issues the knives it is my opinion the accountability cannot stop there, at least to be successful.

So at this point, you have knives missing at times during the appointed checks/cleaning. What happens? In my mind you don't want to issue corrective action reports every time this occurs. No doubt it is going to happen, it is manufacturing after all. I would suggest building a "corrective action" into the form, that is, spelling out what happens when a knife is not returned: The line does not start back up until the knife is found and cleaned. This would be a relatively "normal" occurence. If after a reasonable search it is not found, then I would think it is time for a CAR with an investigation (to include potential risk to the product) and measures to prevent recurrence.

As to how to implement, perhaps you identify each knife and issue to each person or by location on the line so you at least have a trail to follow when looking for a missing knife, that and individual accountability for their tools. Right now, it sounds like when a knife is "missing," business continues. If you don't find it before the next shift or after break, someone on the line might find it and use it - but it has not been cleaned and *sanitized* at the indicated interval, which depending on your product/process and where it is (say...trimming product) could be a much bigger deal than the physical hazard. If I were auditing I might key in on that.

In the end it will take an emphasis by management to make knife (and tool) accountability happen...and apparently a culture change, hopefully painless.

---edit: Tony makes a great point that should not get lost, that is, this program should be *risk based*



Thank you both for your responses. I will incorporate your suggestions where I can.

We use small, light, quick cut-paring knives.

We have a separate document for the mid shift sanitation step of the knives.
Like this original poster, I have irregular start times for the lines, so maintaining a check out and check in at the end of the shifts would be very unwieldly. Since the line, in theory, runs without interruptions, getting managment by-in for shutting the line down would be very difficult. Hence my larger issue of what to do when the knife count doesn't match.

I am toying with the idea of designating how many knives are at each location ON the line, but I can foresee that people will get mind locked into that number and become focused on the number at each station ("X has 1 extra knife!!!") instead of the total number count.

Thank you again!
S
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