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Lock or Unlock Lubricant Cabinets in a Locked Maintenance Shop

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 06:09 PM

I first want to say that I have enjoyed reading many of the very interesting questions/answers/comments over the past few years.  I have found this site to be an extremely valuable source of information!  Thank you!


I am a Quality Audit Coordinator at a large frozen food manufacturing company.  We are BRC certified (Grade A) and have a few other audits that come our way as required by some of our specific customers.  Yesterday we had a customer audit and an incident came up that has got me to thinking and I would like other opinions on the matter.


Our packaging department's maintenance shop is locked with a code access on the door that is known to only the maintenance personnel.  Inside the shop there are two cabinets where the food grade and non-food grade lubricants are kept.  When we entered the shop with the auditor the only people in there was the supervisor and maintenance planner.  All other employees were in the lunch room on break, with no work being performed in the shop.  The auditor wanted to see the lubricant storage cabinets and they were both unlocked, with the locks being kept in the supervisor's office.  (I know that most, if not all audits, have an expectation that the cabinets are locked unless a person is retrieving or returning an item.  This is not the first time that this has occured, but the supervisor seems to sometimes think the rules apply to everyone else but him. :yeahrite: )  Anyway, when questioned about putting the locks on the cabinets he stated that since the shop itself is locked, that he doesn't feel that he needs to lock the cabinets.  My question is:  Is he correct?  Or should they still have to be locked?  :helpplease: I am very interested in hearing what people have to say.


Thank you for your time!








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Posted 18 December 2013 - 06:32 PM

I can only give you my experience. We had our SQF Level II audit in October. We have a maintenance shop with a electronic card reader, so only maint and supervisors can get in. Our cabinet isn't locked and our auditor had no problem with it. I have taken auditors back there for over 4 years now and none of them have said anything.

They are SQF auditors and no one has mentioned the lack of locks in maintenance. BRC may be a different animal.


Edited by Setanta, 18 December 2013 - 06:32 PM.






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Posted 18 December 2013 - 07:55 PM

As long as your maintenance area is isolated from the food processing area and there is no chances of cross contamination by the employees, I feel you should be good.


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Posted 19 December 2013 - 12:48 PM

If there is no possibility of chemical contamination of product then it is not under remit of BRC audit.  It may however be a health and safety concern if chemicals are hazardous, flammable, toxic etc.

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 04:07 PM

Dear mccainqac,
I think your superviser was wrong. The situation might not lead to any nonconformity if there would not be any provision of locking of cabinets. Since a violation of standard practice was observed, it should not be justified as it was. The second point that should be focused. If we logically assess your existing described system of storage of two types of chemicals, the locking in the cabinets was most probably desinged to further ensure no mixing or no accidental use of wrong chemical in a hurry. Locks sometimes serve as checkoints or trails in order to help a worker to follow the standard practice.


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Posted 15 January 2014 - 03:50 PM

Just make sure your food safe lubricants are stored separately to your regular lubricants and all the other things normally stored in a maintenance shop. No lock needed in our case - only for the main door of the maintenance shop.

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