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Auditor rummaging through employee lockers

SQF Audit

Best Answer Madam A. D-tor, 09 July 2015 - 09:09 PM

The answer of an auditor:

 

Yes, we do and should check the lockers on the items named by gfdoucette07.

However in some countries this can be seen as an insult on privacy.

 

Therefore:

-  I check the lockers that are left open by the workers;

- walks in the changing rooms around the breaks and ask the employees if I can check their lockers;

- ask if their is a master key and if the plant manager is allowed to open the lockers;

- ask the staff that is accompanying me to open their lockers;

- ask if they ever check the employee's lockers by their selves.

 

I think the last point is important.

Like Charles said, sometimes some unpleasure surprises are found in the lockers.

Companies around here, that do check the lockers, do it:

- announced;

- in present of the user of the locker.

They are looking for:

- cleanliness;

- pests;

- knives/weapons;

- company owned items (theft);

- food and other contamination risks.

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#1 scottsc

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 03:19 PM

Hi all,

 

I just finished up an SQF audit with a score of 94. Not bad, not great. I was dinged for things like not having a spill kit in the laundry room and a piece of tape the size of a postage stamp stuck on a piece of equipment not in use, etc, etc...easy fixes. However, what  really surprised me was the auditor searching through the employee lockers not once but twice. I have not seen this during the course of any audit before and I am curious if anyone else has had an auditor do this. I would like to do some training with the staff regarding what is and isn't allowed in their lockers but I have not been able to find any guidance on the topic. Is this part of a code somewhere and I've missed it?

 

Thanks any advice,

 

Scott


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#2 ladytygrr

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 03:23 PM

Scott,

 

I have not been through an audit but that sounds weird to my inexperienced self. I am very interested to hear what others' experiences have been.

 

Thank you for bringing this up.

 

~Emily~


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#3 QAChantelle

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 04:23 PM

I don't know if it is a standard, but from what I understood was if the locker wasn't already open they couldn't look. Also, in my past experience food was never to be stored in our personal locker. We had a separate area to store our lunch boxes on open racks.

 

Thank you.


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#4 MlissaB

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 05:06 PM

Not sure if this will help because it isn't SQF and it's on the packaging side, however; here goes...

 

Both BRC and AIB cover what can and can't be in lockers and both clearly state that open food/drink should not be stored there. If this is true for the packaging standards I would find it hard to believe that it isn't true for the food standards. With that in mind, once you establish the policy around what is and isn't allowed you need to monitor it effectively during your self inspections. I have a lot of experience with AIB inspections and am getting some with BRC inspections and the auditors I've dealt with have always looked in lockers as well as asking to review our locker inspection log.

 

Hope this helps!


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#5 gfdoucette07

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 05:08 PM

I do not believe it is a "direct" standard but it has been common practice in both SQF and BRC at least in my experiance for them to check EE lockers.  They are normally inspected in BRC under 3 sections pest control, GMPs, and staff facilities.  In staff facilities BRC states "street and work clothes shall be stored seperatly" so checking for that.  If your GMPs state "no food in locker room or other than designated areas they will be looking for food/drink stored in lockers.  This also ties into pest control if there is contraban stored in lockers pest will find it. 

 

Attached is a posting I put up and covered at food safety training,  I also conduct 2x yr locker inspections where everyone is required to open them up and show me their contents, because after all they are company property if you didnt want me to see it dont bring it to work.

Attached Files


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#6 johnwandzala

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 05:28 PM

This practice sounds to me very similar to the 'undocumented' Good Documentation Practices enforced by FDA auditors... meaning nowhere is it stated in 21CFR that crossing out blank spaces in records (for example) is a requirement, but the auditors nonetheless inspect for it. I think it would make a good forum topic, something like - Best practices for auditees that you won't find in standards - based soley on auditees' experiences with auditors.


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#7 CMHeywood

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 03:14 PM

I believe SQF requires that employees store their meals in an appropriate area (lunch room) which implies that they should not be storing food in their lockers.  You should have a policy of what and what not is allowed in lockers:  food, guns, chemicals, etc.  If you have a policy like this you should be auditing lockers for compliance, otherwise your policy means nothing.  If you are checking lockers, then the auditor expects that he will be able to check lockers.  Unfortunately, your employees may consider lockers, tool boxes, etc. to be private property.  However, anything brought onto company property has to be subject to inspection.


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#8 erin.m.v

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:52 PM

In the two SQF audits that I have participated in, each auditor looked inside one unlocked locker (without asking), but never asked to look inside any of the lockers with padlocks on them. 

 

This is an area that my facility needs to improve on, so I look forward to getting more input from others.


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#9 MM1

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 02:45 AM

In my past SQF audits auditors have walked into locker rooms but only once they requested to see what is stored inside, just because the employee was opening it while we were there.


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#10 Charles.C

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 05:34 AM

IMEX inspection of personal lockers for any audit can be a highly sensitive item for auditor/auditee and Company. Unexpected finds are legendary and not always anecdotal.  A potential for accusations based on circumstantial evidence exists.

 

I tried to find any specifics in a few SQF 7.2 Code Modules/Guidances and BRC7 Code for this topic. The nearest mention I could find in either Standard was text similar to “facilities ….shall be provided” ?

 

In some locations, valuables may be routinely stored within such lockers, eg Gold, Jewelry, Bank Deposit Books. And no Hotel-like disclaimer.

 

As for Policy, Top Managements often tip-toe very carefully round this issue.


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#11 Madam A. D-tor

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 09:09 PM   Best Answer

The answer of an auditor:

 

Yes, we do and should check the lockers on the items named by gfdoucette07.

However in some countries this can be seen as an insult on privacy.

 

Therefore:

-  I check the lockers that are left open by the workers;

- walks in the changing rooms around the breaks and ask the employees if I can check their lockers;

- ask if their is a master key and if the plant manager is allowed to open the lockers;

- ask the staff that is accompanying me to open their lockers;

- ask if they ever check the employee's lockers by their selves.

 

I think the last point is important.

Like Charles said, sometimes some unpleasure surprises are found in the lockers.

Companies around here, that do check the lockers, do it:

- announced;

- in present of the user of the locker.

They are looking for:

- cleanliness;

- pests;

- knives/weapons;

- company owned items (theft);

- food and other contamination risks.


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Kind Regards,

Madam A. D-tor

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#12 scottsc

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 09:25 PM

The auditor did not find anything he shouldn't have. It was just a little surprising since the two previous auditors did not search the lockers and this auditor did it twice. I will explain this during the next GMP refresher session and I think that the staff will understand.

 

Excellent information everyone!

 

Thank you,

 

Scott


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