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#1 MmeMuffin

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 03:52 PM

So, we have a member of our management team who wears his pants a little low... many times he is walking throughout the plant with his ... plumber's crack clearly visible.  :headhurts: 

Not only do I think this is disgustingly unprofessional, but from a food safety standpoint it makes me cringe just a little. It's the equivalent to me as if he were waving his naked butt over the product.

Problem is, I'm not quite sure how to address this. He has been the most difficult to get on board with all of the changes I've made thus far- he doesn't remember a hairnet, has openly not washed his hands after handling a potential allergen before walking into the plant as I was saying "wash your hands" as he walked past me... These are problems I am working on, but I at least feel comfortable addressing and enforcing these things.

The pants issue though... someone suggested a belt policy, but the problem is he WEARS a belt. He just affixes it so low (he has a bit of a low hanging gut, and wears his pants under that)... that if his shirt comes untucked, which it frequently does, his butt is there for all to see. 

NOT TO MENTION because of this, he is frequently shoving his hands in his pants to re-tuck his shirt in. Ew.

Any suggestions on how to address sensitive topics such as this with someone who is the most difficult to get to comply but also has the power to fire you???  Or do I just try and ignore this one as best I can? 
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#2 michaelgaspard

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 04:11 PM

Hi, I think first, it's not a question whether you can be fired or not, if food safety is affected you shall avoid this and he must congratulate you for same. I do not know who do the internal audit, just put the hazard in the internal audit report, but with the maximum diplomacy so that you do not make people feel ashame or down graded because of physical appearance or part of their body being appeared. we need to use strategy, but stick to the point that '' sorry Sir, according to cluase???? in BRC standard, you shall not do this, this this, please I am sending you the CAR, i will provide and record a short training on personal hygiene and dressing. (10 mins training). please fill CAR after this and then you send. If auditor see safe we will get remarks, minor or major. But send only to him Non conformance regarding him and keep a copy for your future use. Be as polite as possible.Always approch such people in a friendly manner!!


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#3 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 04:18 PM

I would have a meeting with his manager or the plant manager... I don't know your structure but whomever is appropriate... and have them be involved as well.  Ask the offending manager to a meeting with you and that other manager to have a polite discussion about the practice and why it is a food safety hazard and that the practice wouldn't be acceptable for any employee to do it.


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#4 MmeMuffin

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 04:21 PM

I would have a meeting with his manager or the plant manager... I don't know your structure but whomever is appropriate... and have them be involved as well.  Ask the offending manager to a meeting with you and that other manager to have a polite discussion about the practice and why it is a food safety hazard and that the practice wouldn't be acceptable for any employee to do it.

What if he happens to be the CEO?  :oops: 

There are only 3 of us in the office... CEO, Plant/Operations Manager, and myself. Should I still involve the plant manager?


Edited by Mel.D, 20 January 2015 - 04:23 PM.

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#5 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 04:23 PM

Is he known to be unapproachable or is he a relatively decent person?

 

You can try to talk to him about it or gather the management together to have a conference about this and the other major infractions like the allergens issue.  Or find a new company and wipe your hands of the issue.


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#6 SamM

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:19 PM

Pretty simple way of handling this issue without ruffling any feathers is to enforce a policy of wearing knee length overcoats while entering the plant. Sam


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#7 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:25 PM

SamM making a new policy that the CEO isn't likely to follow any more than the existing ones isn't really a productive way to handle the situation in my opinion.  It's like the United States passing laws on top of laws and not enforcing any of them.  

 

The only time anything matters is when someone stands up for what's right and says what needs to be said or does what needs to be done.

 

BTW :welcome: to IFSQN.


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#8 S Maddux

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:42 PM

I would hope you have GMP's.  At our plant we have what we call GMP and Safety issues.  If anyone breaks a GMP policy or safety policy we document it, not a write up, and enter the information for trending later.  This information lets us know if we need more training and lets us know who the problem employees are.  All my QA's know that they have the right to fill out the sheet for any employee (CEO, Owner, plant manager and myself).  Every quarter we trend the information and the management team goes over it.  Monthly I send out a sheet with employees who names are on the list multiple time (2 or more).  The employee's supervisor or manager takes care of the rest.  Every time a name is put in the system an e-mail is sent to all department managers so they are aware. 

 

You are for sure in a hard spot.  It is very sad that you have a manager in a food processing plant that can't or won't follow the rules.  The Managers are supposed to lead by example and he is not doing that.   I say you get your resume ready and then start documenting when he doesn't follow GMP's.   If he isn't following GMP in a food processing plant what else is he doing wrong.  Doesn't sound like a Manager I would like to work for.   Good luck 


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#9 SamM

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:44 PM

If I am correct and if there are only 3 people at the top, make the gentleman (the butt of this thread) sign the "Dress Code/Uniform" policy for the plant and then take the NCR route when he is in violation.It's difficult for people to break their own rules!!

 

Good luck.


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#10 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:51 PM

What if he happens to be the CEO?  :oops: 

There are only 3 of us in the office... CEO, Plant/Operations Manager, and myself. Should I still involve the plant manager?

 

Ahh you snuck that 2nd part in on me when I wasn't looking.

 

I would.  I'm sure you both report to the CEO separately correct?  That is to say you don't directly work under the plant manager or do you?  I think seeing as you and the plant manager are senior management (I would assume) it might help with leverage if both of you agree it's a problem and bring it to him together as a united front.


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#11 MmeMuffin

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:55 PM

Pretty simple way of handling this issue without ruffling any feathers is to enforce a policy of wearing knee length overcoats while entering the plant. Sam


I do have lab coats on my list of things I'd like to introduce.. just waiting for the opportunity to pitch to include them in the budget. 

However I do agree with Mr. Icognito in that simply introducing a new policy isn't going to help much, seeing that I already have a hard time getting him to comply with the other policies. 


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#12 MmeMuffin

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 08:01 PM

I would hope you have GMP's.  At our plant we have what we call GMP and Safety issues.  If anyone breaks a GMP policy or safety policy we document it, not a write up, and enter the information for trending later.  This information lets us know if we need more training and lets us know who the problem employees are.  All my QA's know that they have the right to fill out the sheet for any employee (CEO, Owner, plant manager and myself).  Every quarter we trend the information and the management team goes over it.  Monthly I send out a sheet with employees who names are on the list multiple time (2 or more).  The employee's supervisor or manager takes care of the rest.  Every time a name is put in the system an e-mail is sent to all department managers so they are aware. 

 

You are for sure in a hard spot.  It is very sad that you have a manager in a food processing plant that can't or won't follow the rules.  The Managers are supposed to lead by example and he is not doing that.   I say you get your resume ready and then start documenting when he doesn't follow GMP's.   If he isn't following GMP in a food processing plant what else is he doing wrong.  Doesn't sound like a Manager I would like to work for.   Good luck 

I have only just written our GMPs, previously we had no written policies or GMP's of any sort.... Part of the reason I am having a hard time with this CEO is that I am trying to break 5 years' worth of poor habits. He built this company and used to be the only person operating equipment... coming from a farming background and still having a difficult time looking at it as food and not just seed/grain.

Basically after pondering this over today, I've decided to give it some time, work on building my experience with  food safety and quality assurance (I'm coming from a Dietetics background, so this is new to me) , and adding it all to my resume just in case. If things turn around this year, great, I'll have positioned myself to move up as this company grows. If not, then I'll have certainly learned a lot of valuable things in the meantime that can be applied elsewhere. 


Edited by Mel.D, 20 January 2015 - 08:05 PM.

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#13 MmeMuffin

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 08:04 PM

Ahh you snuck that 2nd part in on me when I wasn't looking.

 

I would.  I'm sure you both report to the CEO separately correct?  That is to say you don't directly work under the plant manager or do you?  I think seeing as you and the plant manager are senior management (I would assume) it might help with leverage if both of you agree it's a problem and bring it to him together as a united front.

Yes, we both report separately.... this does sound nice, and I am sure she will agree with me.. she also has known the CEO a lot longer and might be able to help address it in a way that won't offend. 

Thank you so much everyone for your insight and advice!  Being that we are so small it is nice to bounce ideas around from people with more experience.  :biggrin: 


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#14 Charles.C

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 08:17 PM

Dear Mel.D,

 

I deduce that yr entire process operation involves 3 + 2 + 3 people  (+ engineers maybe). As you stated, It's a very small enterprise, people-wise.

 

Has anyone else voiced a problem similar to yourself ? Just asking.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Edited by Charles.C, 20 January 2015 - 08:20 PM.
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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#15 ksullivan

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 09:06 PM

If you need some back-up:  Peruse warning letters on the FDA website.  I have used excerpts from warning letters in GMP training to get across the point that GMPs are not something that have been invented by the QC department for job security.  

I also find that raising the specter of the FDA with my management team (used judiciously, of course) helps calibrate the seriousness of industry issues, particularly as it relates to our various food safety-related procedures.  Here's a link to the 2014 list:

http://www.fda.gov/I...ult.htm?Page=14

 

I understand exactly what you are experienced, having been there myself.  I'm sure you can find common ground in that you both have best interests of the company at heart.

 

Hang in there!


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#16 Simon

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 07:08 AM

Be patient, you are trying to change a culture...albeit a small, difficult one.

 

Instead of diving in try to educate him slowly by involving him in drafting or at least reading and understanding the policies and procedures.

 

And generalize, e.g. we have to do this and we cannot do that without talking specifically about his butt.  If he's clever enough he will latch on.  If not time will come when you get an NC on an audit, perhaps it won't be enough to fail you the audit, butt but it will have to be addressed in your corrective action plan or it will result in failure.

 

Ensure you cover your own butt, so that it doesn't look like you have missed the issue and perhaps get the blame for the NC.  Just cover it cleverly.

 

Not easy all the same.  Good luck and let us know how things develop.


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#17 calaggal

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 06:26 PM

I had to specifically put all undergarments and what they cover, MUST be covered at all times in our GMPS for the same reason. Lucky for me it wasn't my supervisor that I was having this issue with. I feel your pain, we are just recently(last 7 months) starting to follow stricter guidelines for our food safety program, and I am still having a hell of a time getting people to comply! It gets better, just stick with it and continue to document everything, so you have proof!


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#18 MWidra

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 07:23 PM

Be patient, you are trying to change a culture...albeit a small, difficult one.

 

Instead of diving in try to educate him slowly by involving him in drafting or at least reading and understanding the policies and procedures.

 

And generalize, e.g. we have to do this and we cannot do that without talking specifically about his butt.  If he's clever enough he will latch on.  If not time will come when you get an NC on an audit, perhaps it won't be enough to fail you the audit, butt but it will have to be addressed in your corrective action plan or it will result in failure.

 

Ensure you cover your own butt, so that it doesn't look like you have missed the issue and perhaps get the blame for the NC.  Just cover it cleverly.

 

Not easy all the same.  Good luck and let us know how things develop.

First off, I enjoyed the cheeky puns included in your post.  Well played.

 

Secondly, great advice, though subtle information flies over the heads of some people.  They need to be kicked in the rear to learn stuff (sorry I could not resist.)

 

One can only hope that it works.

 

Martha


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#19 Simon

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 06:53 AM

First off, I enjoyed the cheeky puns included in your post.  Well played.

 

Secondly, great advice, though subtle information flies over the heads of some people.  They need to be kicked in the rear to learn stuff (sorry I could not resist.)

 

One can only hope that it works.

 

Martha

 

Not too bad yourself Martha.

 

I guess it's about style.  Your own and the head honchos...and there are always more than one way to skin a cat.


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#20 MmeMuffin

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 05:01 PM

Well, I just thought I'd give everyone an update... I had planned on having a sort of "in-service training" for all employees to discuss various food safety issues I've noticed without pointing fingers. I planned to use this time to indirectly hint towards the previous issue, and then maybe I could readdress it with him directly if he didn't get the point. This in-service is scheduled for this upcoming Monday.

Since then, there have been some other issues:

First: I had an employee asking for clarification about the shelving (I am asking employees to move shelves up further from the floor/add casters to shelving units for pest control/cleaning reasons). She came and asked ME to clarify what I wanted, and in the middle of doing so, he interrupts me and tells me that she didn't need to worry about doing any of that because "we don't have the space and we'll never be able to meet all of industry standards anyways... it's not really that important, blah blah blah" 

Second: Just the other day, he allowed several university folk (NOT employees of ours) use a piece of our equipment. He let them in the back door, failed to sign them in or brief them on ANY of our facility's rules (They were without hairnets, hair not even tied back, running around with unwashed hands, etc.). When I realized they were in the back of our processing facility, I asked if he had them sign the processing practices form and the visitor log. He said "no, but you should probably have them do that, huh?"  :uhm:  .... I bit my tongue and held in what my immediate response would have been.

He didn't believe it necessary because they were working on their own product, not ours, so I had to educate him that regardless of whose product they are working on, while they are in our facility they are not only a food safety risk, but a legal liability, and anyone that enters our facility needs to, at a minimum, 1) not be coming in the back doors, 2) be briefed about the facility they are entering and the things we require of our employees and visitors, and 3) be supervised. 

I gave him the forms and told him he needed to take them back to them and have them sign it, and while he was at it, HE needed to sign one as well, since I didn't have one on file and I'd asked before. 

He took the papers out to them, and then I didn't see him for most of the day. I collected the processing practices/agreements at the end of the day and, come to find out, he STILL hasn't signed the form.
Since he failed to do so when I asked him to sign it while he HAD IT IN HIS HAND, I'm really beginning to think this is a lost cause. 


And according to our production manager, as he was leaving the production manager asked him how long the guests were going to be using our equipment (because she was wanting to leave for the day, as well) and he told her that she could just go home whenever, that THEY WOULD BE FINE. He wanted to leave random people unattended in our facility.  :headhurts: (she didn't, by the way, because she thought it was appalling he would even suggest this). 


So basically he's being bolder about his resistance to this whole thing, and it's clear he doesn't want to or is incapable of change.... I know now with 100% certainty that it'll save my sanity to brush up a personal document that starts with an 'R' and start knocking on other doors and say good riddance :eekout: 
It might take a while for me to actually make the transition, but at least now I know how little he cares, and can save my energy and prevent stroking out before I turn 30 while trying to make changes that aren't going to happen due to his stubborn nature. It's a pity because a lot of other local businesses rely on this company surviving, and it's only a matter of time before something catastrophic happens. 
<_< 
 

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and input :) it has been helpful, whether in a measurable way or not.


Edited by Mel.D, 30 January 2015 - 05:09 PM.

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#21 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 05:12 PM

My honest suggestion is to bail now.  You aren't facing an uphill battle you are fighting a tank with a toothpick.  At any moment the tank can just roll right over you.


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#22 Setanta

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 05:15 PM

WOW. Just wow.  I would definitely talk to his partners (other owners/managers) to see if they are truly aware how far he is going and find out if they are OK with that. They might know or they might be turning a blind eye to just how bad it is.  Use the above as documentation. Maybe take out more emotion...

 

That way, you have given them every opportunity to remedy the situation.I would NOT advise them that you are looking elsewhere, just that you have concerns.  Then you can leave with a clean conscience that you've done everything possible.

 

Then:  RUN Mel D. RUN!!


Edited by Setanta, 30 January 2015 - 06:56 PM.

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#23 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 05:22 PM

I agree with Setanta somewhat... but you don't owe them anything.  You are being paid to do a job you can't accomplish because the person paying you doesn't give two flying... well I won't finish the rest of that sentiment.

 

I left the yogurt plant with a clear conscious because I saw the things that production managers were doing, things the quality manager was doing, and I said "Screw This" and I left.  


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#24 MWidra

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 06:50 PM

Second: Just the other day, he allowed several university folk (NOT employees of ours) use a piece of our equipment. He let them in the back door, failed to sign them in or brief them on ANY of our facility's rules (They were without hairnets, hair not even tied back, running around with unwashed hands, etc.). When I realized they were in the back of our processing facility, I asked if he had them sign the processing practices form and the visitor log. He said "no, but you should probably have them do that, huh?"  :uhm:  .... I bit my tongue and held in what my immediate response would have been.

He didn't believe it necessary because they were working on their own product, not ours, so I had to educate him that regardless of whose product they are working on, while they are in our facility they are not only a food safety risk, but a legal liability, and anyone that enters our facility needs to, at a minimum, 1) not be coming in the back doors, 2) be briefed about the facility they are entering and the things we require of our employees and visitors, and 3) be supervised. 

I gave him the forms and told him he needed to take them back to them and have them sign it, and while he was at it, HE needed to sign one as well, since I didn't have one on file and I'd asked before. 

He took the papers out to them, and then I didn't see him for most of the day. I collected the processing practices/agreements at the end of the day and, come to find out, he STILL hasn't signed the form.
Since he failed to do so when I asked him to sign it while he HAD IT IN HIS HAND, I'm really beginning to think this is a lost cause. 


And according to our production manager, as he was leaving the production manager asked him how long the guests were going to be using our equipment (because she was wanting to leave for the day, as well) and he told her that she could just go home whenever, that THEY WOULD BE FINE. He wanted to leave random people unattended in our facility.  :headhurts: (she didn't, by the way, because she thought it was appalling he would even suggest this). 

You've got a few more potentially more damaging issues here. 

 

Being in the U.S., you need to let anyone who visits your facility know about the hazards they would encounter, because they would not be covered under Workers Comp.  If they are injured, unlike employees in most states, they could sue the company.  That could be BIG bucks.  No one who is not an employee should be left unsupervised unless they are extremely familiar with the facility and know the hazards.  That's just from a personal safety POV.

 

This also could be a problem if the presence of those visitors compromises the safety of the food due to the negligence of the CEO.  The recent PCA trials come to mind.  If there is a large enough food poisoning incident that results, the authorities would definitely take notice.

 

I echo the advice of others, I think it's time to jump ship.

 

Martha


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#25 Snookie

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 07:00 PM

The pants issue though... someone suggested a belt policy, but the problem is he WEARS a belt. He just affixes it so low (he has a bit of a low hanging gut, and wears his pants under that)... that if his shirt comes untucked, which it frequently does, his butt is there for all to see. 

NOT TO MENTION because of this, he is frequently shoving his hands in his pants to re-tuck his shirt in. Ew.

Any suggestions on how to address sensitive topics such as this with someone who is the most difficult to get to comply but also has the power to fire you???  Or do I just try and ignore this one as best I can? 
:helpplease: 
 

 

 

First I agree with everyone...run...run fast and run hard.  :eekout: However it occurred to me if you really want to make your point, at the end of the day swab his hands and send it out for APC , Y &M and E. Coli.  The numbers on that swab should prove interesting. 


Edited by Snookie, 30 January 2015 - 11:42 PM.

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