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How to reinforce the GMP behavior of maintenance personnel?

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Hector Morales QA

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:58 PM

When mechanics, electricians or wathever maintenance personnel comes in to the production facility, they do not wash hands, because they are concern of their hands arthritis health, the usage of alcohol sanitation solutions seems to be the same problem.
Plant medical doctor deparment opinion is that not illness or workillness concerns are involved but people behavior is the same.

Do you have any experience to share in order to reinforce the GMP from mainteinance personnel?

Héctor Morales


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:31 PM

Hello Héctor, You are not the first one to experience this problem. Take a look at the previous discussion below and feel free to comment on that topic or here: Engineers! Why don't they follow the rules?


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 08:36 AM

because they are concern of their hands arthritis health, the usage of alcohol sanitation solutions seems to be the same problem.

I was about to suggest the same thread as Simon. Arthritis with alcohol sanitiser? That's a new one!

I agree that there is a training and motivation issue here. You need to train, ensure they're supervised, correct non conformity, review etc.

First of all, get their boss on board. S/he's going to be the person disciplining them if they do it wrong.

So, secondly, I'd look at their objections. They believe washing and sanitising their hands will lead to arthritis. I would make it clear that it is a requirement of entry to any food factory in the world. If they still object, tell them to get a doctor's report to that effect (at their expense.) I would also talk to HR on this because if they are subject to a medical issue which would prevent them from doing their job, in the UK anyway, they could be subject to dismissal on the basis of capability.

Secondly, you need to spend time explaining why you need to wash your hands. Don't just think about products because presumably they don't touch the product but they will touch door handles which will then get touched by food handlers.

Explain the risks to them; not only microbiological but consider chemical risks. Have they been handling oily equipment for example?

Record all of this training, get them to sign off against it. Put into the documents that it is a disciplinary offence not to follow the rules and make it clear to their boss that if they continue not to wash their hands, there must be a disciplinary action made. People change behaviour based upon the perceived consequences. If you can't persuade them through the risks to the consumer (because they probably feel remote), you have to persuade them due to the risks to their job. Hopefully it will only take one verbal warning before everyone gets the message.

The above is fairly tough and I think you have to balance it up by forming a relationship with them in other ways, e.g. providing specialist hand cleaning fluids just for them in their workshop (because oil is tough to remove with the standard soap gels) and talking and listening to them about their concerns and their difficulties.

I can't urge you enough to build up that relationship with their manager. It's so powerful if people hear a united front.

Edited by GMO, 10 January 2012 - 08:37 AM.


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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:28 PM

Ah yes! The Latin American fear of getting arthritis from washing your hands, or applying something as cold as alcohol on them.

Sometimes the problem is that the temperature of the water or the blow dryer is too cold or too hot. I live in a place where temperatures go from -5°C in the early morning to 20°C by 11 AM, during certain times of the year. That means that if there is no water heater, only the QC/QA people are the ones washing their hands. It also means that if your water pipes go right under your tin roof, the water is scalding at noon.

I agree with GMO: talk to them and see specifically why they´re afraid they´ll get arthritis. If it´s possible, try to modify conditions so that hand washing won´t be as difficult. Now, if having met all the reasonable conditions for comfortable handwashing, they still refuse to do so, check with your Human Resources Department to see what kind of disciplinary actions can be taken.


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Posted 12 January 2012 - 07:31 AM

Agreed with the above. If water temperature is a problem, it will not help ensure production staff are washing their hands (or at least washing them properly).

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