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Control of Blades - Non conformances

Blades Sharps BRC Procedure SOP

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#1 Compliance Guy

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 01:08 PM

Hi,

 

We are flexible polyethylene packaging manufacturer who does food and non-food contact packaging.

 

Just wanted to get some suggestion around Control of blades, at the moment we use Stanley 99E Retractable Blade Knife on our shop floor for various purposes and replace the blades every now and then. We also have some slitting blade which are used on the lines.

 

This is how we manage at the moment, blades and blade holders are kept in the QC office and QC only oversee the process. operator need to come down to the QC office to get blades/holders and sign them out on a log, once operator needs to replace the blade he will come back and sign in the blade again. As much as I want this to be perfect this doesn't even come close to be working.

 

People are not signing them out properly, whilst returning the blade they are not filling the log and fail to return the blade holders as well. I have found loads of loose blades and holders all over the place.

 

There are 4 shifts so it's easier for things to slip away and blame the other shift things comes in.

 

Training has been provided and I have checked the records myself and some of the staff got disciplined as well but didn't improve the situation as such. THE PROBLEM STILL EXIST!

 

What would you guys suggest? I am ready to answer any questions you may have?

 

Thank you for reading

 

Kind Regards

Compliance guy

 

 


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#2 GMO

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 04:17 PM

Wow!  If you were in a food factory you would be expecting a major non conformance right about now.... :oops2:

 

This is difficult but I suppose the first step is looking at the type of knives you have.  Do you really need open blade retractable knives?  I ask this from a food safety and health and safety perspective because they are prone to damage and also blood spillage and as they are retractable they can be difficult to clean effectively...  My rule of thumb if you excuse the pun, is if you can use a safety knife for a job then you should.  My preference is for heavy duty penguin knives personally which are great for cutting film, strapping and have a handy little nobble on them which is perfect for opening boxes without cutting the contents. 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=7GxdUFM9aco

 

Then you need to train people in what you're going to do including the why and the implications on the customer and on them personally if they don't follow it.

 

Next you need to number all of your knives if you've not done so already.  Your log needs to include the knife number when the QC (or a supervisor) issues them and all spare knives need to locked away.  The operator is then responsible for that knife and needs to be very clearly communicated with that this is the case.  You need to make sure that the operational management backs you up first because you are going to have to discipline some people until they get the idea.  Bear in mind by this point they know you have their manager's buy in, you've trained them again, you've made them realise this knife is their responsibility and despite all that they've still given you an "FU" to the site policies.  There has to be consequences to that there's no use in pussy footing around.  They need to understand this is basic stuff.  This is like washing their hands after the toilet.  I'd hope most factories are a bit more evolved than this nowadays and sometimes you have to be Mr or Mrs Kick Ass to get change.


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#3 Scampi

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 05:47 PM

We have made the knives the employee's responsibility, for proper use and training for if it breaks (using scalpels in poultry processing). When ever a knife breaks, i use it as a teaching moment and commend the staff for following the protocol. ONce they are on the floor, QA monitors them once per 1/2 hour.  Nothing is stored on the production floor. Perhaps if you simply add regular monitoring and are able to catch issues of mis use etc as they occur it will help ensure your policy works (that's of course if you're not already doing so)


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#4 Shyguy77

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 08:48 PM

Looks like you need a better and stricter system for blade usages.  Like GMO stated each one should be numbered and lock-up from employees. Put someone in charge of this and not just overseeing it, that way you get the documentation you need completed. Discuss this with your employees and let them know how the procedure works and then use disciplinary measure if needed to enforce it. I would also limit the retractable blades to one blade each and if an employee needs a new one they must bring back the old one first.


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#5 Compliance Guy

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 08:33 AM

Good Morning,

 

Whoa! thank you guys for your valuable suggestions and feedback. Much appreciated.

 

I had a meeting with the Shift Managers, H&S Manager, Production Assistant and they came up with an idea of fixing individual locked cabinets on each line so people can keep blade holders and change the blades as and when required. What do you guys think about it? what are the risk? would BRC will challenge it? There will be a log of change of blades and also a log of issue of pack of blades to the line.

 

numbering the knives is good idea which I will look into.

 

Many Thanks all

 

Kind Regards,

Compliance guy


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#6 Sharon (Dewsbury)

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 10:58 AM

Hi ,

we use a combination of all these. 

1. The operator is responsible for his own knife & blades (signed training log)

2. All knives are engraved with a number and we have a master list of who the knives belong to

3. We have a lockable tool box in each area to keep the knives when not in use

4. The tool box contains a laminated list of contents which is part of the GMP audit check

5. There are several yellow sharps disposal bins in relevant areas to make it easy to dispose of the blades without having to leave the area and spend time finding a QC operator etc.

6. We have a signed log of training for all knife users. It states that they understand the need for sharps control. That they realize its their responsibility to use, store and maintain sharps in a safe manner.

7. The operators have a daily log  which is kept in the tool box. They sign knives IN and OUT of the tool box. Their signature also confirms at the same time record that it is clean and in a good state. ( a statement on the log say something along the lines of. " I sign to say that the knife is in a good clean condition " This is also where & when they record a new blade has been taken and the old one disposed of in the sharps bin (when necessary). 

Hope this helps.

Sharon


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#7 Compliance Guy

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 11:28 AM

 

7. The operators have a daily log  which is kept in the tool box. They sign knives IN and OUT of the tool box. Their signature also confirms at the same time record that it is clean and in a good state. ( a statement on the log say something along the lines of. " I sign to say that the knife is in a good clean condition " This is also where & when they record a new blade has been taken and the old one disposed of in the sharps bin (when necessary). 

 

 

Thank you for your reply, is there a chance I can nick your log sheet please? just want to compare what we have at the moment.

 

Also are you using those hospital yellow bins to dispose of your old blades? how to do you keep all of your blades before they get disposed off?

 

Kind Regards,

Compliance guy


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#8 GMO

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 12:55 PM

Good Morning,

 

Whoa! thank you guys for your valuable suggestions and feedback. Much appreciated.

 

I had a meeting with the Shift Managers, H&S Manager, Production Assistant and they came up with an idea of fixing individual locked cabinets on each line so people can keep blade holders and change the blades as and when required. What do you guys think about it? what are the risk? would BRC will challenge it? There will be a log of change of blades and also a log of issue of pack of blades to the line.

 

numbering the knives is good idea which I will look into.

 

Many Thanks all

 

Kind Regards,

Compliance guy

 

Personally I would not allow spare blades on the shop floor but rather that the member of staff returns a blade with any pieces if broken and then is either issued with another knife or in a designated area, replaces the blade.


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#9 Scampi

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 01:38 PM

We use a "sharps" container to dispose of old ones, yes the yellow container you see at the hospital or lab.....here they are free at the pharmacy and we return them to the pharmacy for safe disposal. For us, we have the added control using the sharps bin to ensure that any bio hazard materials do not end up in landfill (blades are incinerated along with other medical wastes)

 

No extra blades on our production floor, employee must vacate the room to replace knives, and same goes at breaks and lunch 


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#10 DN_QAMGR

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 11:51 PM

Compliance Guy,

 

I know what you are going through. There is no way for my team to manage our blades.

 

We use our blades and change them often. Due to safety concerns, I put a blade disposal everywhere (exaggerated). There is no reason why someone would walk more than 10 feet to dispose of a blade. I have to treat my "coworkers" as "children." so I make sure they have sufficient disposal areas. 

 

We recycle our blades with a metal company. 

 

As for controlling them, my supervisors are in charge of sign out and disposal. This isn't sufficient without continuous oversight of the employees and supervisors. 

 

I wish there was a better way to control the blades, but blades are a necessity in our process. 

 

If I was a food company, I would make my current one have a better blade control program. I'll be monitoring this thread for any better, efficient and cost effective ways for blade control. 

 

thanks! Happy New Year!


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#11 gud2ya

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 12:48 PM

Enforce a custody card system which all used blades should be accounted for. Blades which are used but do not have the traceability of usage should be recorded as non-conformances with corresponding sanctions.


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#12 Compliance Guy

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 08:28 AM

Enforce a custody card system which all used blades should be accounted for. Blades which are used but do not have the traceability of usage should be recorded as non-conformances with corresponding sanctions.

Like the idea of it? would you explain bit more on this please?

 

Many Thanks


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#13 Compliance Guy

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 08:30 AM

Compliance Guy,

 

I know what you are going through. There is no way for my team to manage our blades.

 

We use our blades and change them often. Due to safety concerns, I put a blade disposal everywhere (exaggerated). There is no reason why someone would walk more than 10 feet to dispose of a blade. I have to treat my "coworkers" as "children." so I make sure they have sufficient disposal areas. 

 

We recycle our blades with a metal company. 

 

As for controlling them, my supervisors are in charge of sign out and disposal. This isn't sufficient without continuous oversight of the employees and supervisors. 

 

I wish there was a better way to control the blades, but blades are a necessity in our process. 

 

If I was a food company, I would make my current one have a better blade control program. I'll be monitoring this thread for any better, efficient and cost effective ways for blade control. 

 

thanks! Happy New Year!

 

and that's exactly what is happening here.

 

When you say change the blades often, how, where and what do you actually record on the form whilst changing the blade?

 

Thanks


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#14 Rosemary4

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 09:36 AM

We do a combination of the suggestions above. Each knife has the employee number or unique reference on it which is documented on a QC Knife Owners list. We leave one new blade in a knife and this is exchanged on a one for one basis issued by the Shift Managers and signed for. They are then put in an old sharps bin and at frequent intervals, wrapped up and disposed of.

I am attaching a couple of forms we use for issuing of knives (we also use Stanley 99 knives) and issuing of blades if they are of any use to fellow members.

Attached Files


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#15 DN_QAMGR

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 10:12 PM

Sorry for the late response, but we change blades as needed, which is often. 

 

Basically, if the blade is dull or not cutting through the product correctly, they will change. 

 

Overall, I can not define the timing of change, but due to the nature of our business. We have large rolls that do not meet specifications and they have to cut through the roll and destroy the product for recycling purposes. 

 

This is the reason why I use blades. 

 

If I didn't recycle, all my company would need is hook blades (much safer but people don't understand that disposable doesn't mean replace the blade and use tape to secure it). 

 

good luck,

 

thanks,


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#16 GMO

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 12:08 PM

Sorry for the late response, but we change blades as needed, which is often. 

 

Basically, if the blade is dull or not cutting through the product correctly, they will change. 

 

Overall, I can not define the timing of change, but due to the nature of our business. We have large rolls that do not meet specifications and they have to cut through the roll and destroy the product for recycling purposes. 

 

This is the reason why I use blades. 

 

If I didn't recycle, all my company would need is hook blades (much safer but people don't understand that disposable doesn't mean replace the blade and use tape to secure it). 

 

good luck,

 

thanks,

 

How often is often?  We can have a situation where blades or wires are changed daily but we still have a specified place to do it in and confirmation all parts have been accounted for.  I think this comes down to basic compliance.  It is possible to control blades, food factories do it so either there is a lack of senior management commitment to put controls in or you are doing it.  It's not impossible, nothing is. 


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#17 DN_QAMGR

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 07:31 PM

How often is often?  We can have a situation where blades or wires are changed daily but we still have a specified place to do it in and confirmation all parts have been accounted for.  I think this comes down to basic compliance.  It is possible to control blades, food factories do it so either there is a lack of senior management commitment to put controls in or you are doing it.  It's not impossible, nothing is. 

The blades should change as needed or when they are dull.

 

Which could be about once to twice a day. 

 

I agree that there must be control for blades in any type of food contact or food processing facility.

 

You clearly know that there must be senior management support with this issue.

 

As a Manager and representing Food Safety, Safety and Legality, all I can do is monitor and report non-conformance when I see issues and hopefully my senior manager will eventually understand this is an ongoing problem and we need to do something about it. Additionally, I bring up this issue in training every month. 


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#18 GMO

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 07:58 PM

The blades should change as needed or when they are dull.

 

Which could be about once to twice a day. 

 

I agree that there must be control for blades in any type of food contact or food processing facility.

 

You clearly know that there must be senior management support with this issue.

 

As a Manager and representing Food Safety, Safety and Legality, all I can do is monitor and report non-conformance when I see issues and hopefully my senior manager will eventually understand this is an ongoing problem and we need to do something about it. Additionally, I bring up this issue in training every month. 

 

Ah then I'd appeal to their sense of efficiency.

 

Changing the blades in the production area costs time.  It takes an operator away from the job they should be doing.  If they take that broken knife and any pieces to someone externalised from the process, they not only help avoid metal contamination but also they could swap for a new knife and get straight back to work without delay.  Someone off line can then change the blades.  It's worth working it out if that would save time as too often people don't think about that aspect.


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