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#1 sinnae404

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 03:19 AM

How would you deal with someone who claims they can not remove an item of jewellery for strong sentimental/religious reasons?  

This is an amenities cleaner, who does not work near food contact surfaces but does need to access the factory floor, and the jewellery is mostly concealed beneath clothing.  If I was to risk assess this case, it would be very low risk to product (baking environment).  Nevertheless, it contravenes our policy and the concern is always setting the wrong precedent.

 

Thanks!



#2 Avila

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 03:45 AM

Dear Sinnae404,

IMO, GMPs are universal regardless religion we believe in . That's why all employees shall attend and implement GMP / SSOP training

Rgds,

Avila 



#3 keithdd

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 09:42 AM

Agree with Avila,

 

Train the person using the relevant procedure and then disciplinary action is the only other logical action after that. Other employees who adhere to the requirements in the factory are going to ask what's special about that emplyee who wears the jewellery while they can't.

 

Keithdd.



#4 cazyncymru

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 09:50 AM

I'm in agreement; you have a jewellery policy and you should stick to it.

 

What happens if you have an employee who wears a glass bangle in lieu of a wedding ring as some religions allow and says they can't take it off, but they work in a high risk area? What's your argument going to be?

 

Speak to your HR department , and document everything!

 

Caz



#5 ncwingnut

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 10:37 AM

The only thing we allow are plain wedding bands.

 

We have several people here who have to wear medic alert bracelets (diabetic, heart, etc), however, they are not permitted to wear those etiher.  We have a list in the safety office of these issues and keep aware of them that way.



#6 Shyguy77

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 10:41 AM

There should be no exemptions to the rules. They are there for a reason and this needs to be explained to the employee. (Not only on the GMP side, but also on the safety side as well) If the employee refuses to follow the rules then you may have to proceed with disciplinary actions. Just remember to be fair and treat everyone equally.

 

Also as mentioned by Caz, Speak to your HR department and document, document, document.


Edited by jpredmore, 03 June 2014 - 10:42 AM.


#7 fgjuadi

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 10:45 AM

We have employees who wear jewelry for religious reasons -

They are Buddhist (maybe?) and when a member of their family dies, they wear a small plain thread bracelet. 

I allow this if the jewelry is covered by their sleeve & inspected to be whole before the food they work on is released. We know the employees who will be wearing one as they have just taken time off for grieving.

 

It is called out specifically in our GMPs as being acceptable with the inspection procedure, so they aren't breaking the GMPs.

 

It raises my risk of foreign object, but we put in the mitigation steps needed, and the event is thankfully rare.


Edited by magenta_majors, 03 June 2014 - 10:47 AM.

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#8 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 11:12 AM

"religious reasons" is one of the things we have to be exceptionally careful of in the United States where people can be extremely sue happy.  I'm not sure if you have the same issues in Australia.

 

In my previous role we allowed only a plain, unadorned, wedding band and a medic alert necklace that was tucked into their shirt.  I would highly suggest that for your place NCWingnut.  That way they don't have the risk of it being pulled into equipment but they can wear it in the event of an emergency.

 

We had a lady come in as a temp who told me she couldn't remove her earrings because it was a type of piercing only a piercing place could remove... she was promptly told that she would be allowed to work as soon as it was out of her ear... She showed back up 3 hours later.

 

I haven't ever had anyone say a piece of jewelry was on for religious reasons but I do believe the Rabbi did wear his yarmulkes (I'm sorry if that's not right... I had to look it up online and honestly... I would have spelled it way different) under his hairnet which we wouldn't have allowed an operator to wear a hat under his hairnet... so it's really an interesting topic of debate of which I may make a poll in a moment.

 

I think it really does come down to a risk assessment and making sure it doesn't put your product or employee at risk.


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#9 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 11:15 AM

I'm in agreement; you have a jewellery policy and you should stick to it.

 

What happens if you have an employee who wears a glass bangle in lieu of a wedding ring as some religions allow and says they can't take it off, but they work in a high risk area? What's your argument going to be?

 

Speak to your HR department , and document everything!

 

Caz

 

I'm thinking your example is an exaggerated worse case scenario...  Glass should be covered under anyone's GMPs (No glass shall be brought into the production floor".  And sometimes things like this have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

 

Though a point can be made from what you said to have some level of extremely vague language in which the Quality Manager can allow certain situations based on an appropriate risk assessment.


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#10 fgjuadi

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 11:23 AM

Plain band & med tags are standard and good practice.

 

Reflecting a bit more on this -

I'm an atheist, so I think all religious jewelry is bull hockey anyway, but that also means I'm a fierce advocate for religious freedoms so I can have the freedom to practice my own non religion while y'all waste time praying. 

 

Does that mean I'll accept that "The bigger the hair, the closer to god" argument and allow beehive wigs that are too big for hairnes? no.

 

But I do allow the Jewish women to wear wigs beneath their hair nets because they are genuinely uncomfortable showing their hair.  I changed my no wigs, false eyelashes, and fingernails policy to a no fake eyelashes/fingernails policy.

 

Also, as a human being, there is no way in hell I'm telling an employee they aren't allowed to mourn their father and must go home with out pay for a week when there is no genuine food safety risk to the product.  It seems like a weird display of power and unnecessarily cruel.  My job is to make sure the food is safe for human consumption.  If there is no risk of bits in my product, they don't pay enough to make an employee miserable and disgruntled. They pay to make sure it is easy for employees to follow the rules and do their job in a food safe way.

 

I guess that's what HR is for!


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#11 Ekivlen

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 11:54 AM

Call it out in your GMP's, SSOP's. Just as stated above in regards to documentation, have supporting evidence for why you made your decision. Consult scholarly literature, environmental testing, historical data of little to zero potential risk to food safety... I'd stray away from citing an internet blog - though we are all scholarly in our own right.



#12 Ekivlen

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 12:03 PM

The other allocation you can make in your GMP's is to leave it vague to allow for employer discretion:

 

"a.       Personnel shall remove all jewelry and unsecured objects that could pose a contamination risk by falling into food, equipment or containers. Watches, earrings, barrettes, keys, necklaces, rings are not allowed in the production areas. Similarly, wearing of cosmetics, fragrances, false eyelashes, fake nails and the like, are prohibited in the production area. The only exceptions to this standard are made for simple, unadorned wedding bands and medically approved jewelry (i.e. MedicAlert), which must be washed thoroughly before entering the production area."

 

I know many out there shirk at employing discretionary double standards, but some of these scenarios have to be taken on a case by case basis. Just my opinion.



#13 Setanta

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 12:11 PM

Allow jewelry for sentimental reasons, NO. I'm sorry, where would that ever stop?

Religious reasons, explain it to me and I'll consider. Wigs and yarmulkes, we'd allow under a hairnet, just as we'd allow a stocking cap or bandanna. If someone was wearing a kufiya, taqiyah or a hijab, it would be the same, cover that with a hairnet.


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#14 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 01:23 PM

At my last position we had a no hat / bandanna / etc. policy... so it would have been more of a contentious issue between people who felt they needed to wear a bandanna and if we had allowed general religious headwear.


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#15 Setanta

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 01:29 PM

Baseball caps are not allowed. The brim sticks out from the hairnet and could have Who-Knows-What attached.


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#16 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 01:41 PM

I think this thread has been slightly hijacked but on that subject:

 

I had an operator come up to me complaining about the new QA manager's new rule about no ball caps when I was a tech at a previous role.  Knowing the operators sure does help a lot with these types of situations.

 

This particular operator was a country boy.  He liked mudding, hunting, and all of that country living kind of stuff. 

 

I took one look at him and said "Well we look at it this way.  How often do you wear that hat?" 

He indicated that he wore his hat all of the time.

I asked "Do you wear it when you go mudding and hunting?"

He indicated that he did.

I asked "How much blood and mud have gotten on the hat?"

He stared at me blankly.

I then set on explaining that if there was blood on the hat it could cause a pathogen risk and that if there was mud on his hat it could have salmonella all over it not to mention all of the other risks it could pose.

 

That was the moment he understood why he couldn't wear his hat on the floor and is the reason I advocate against people wearing any kind of hat/ball cap (other than as previously stated) while working.


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#17 tadelong

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 02:09 PM

This has been a very informative chat!

I used to wear my Medicalert watch during production. When the auditor tried to catch me for wearing a watch on the job, it became the only time I've ever had a one-up over her where she actually looked like she'd hit a speed-bump. After hooking my watch on a loaded pallet and having the strap snap, though, I abandoned it(more for financial reasons than anything else). I do wear my wedding band, as we allow "plain gold" as per the spec.

I see that a lot of folks here do not allow Medicalert jewellery, while if I remember correctly the code exempts it. Is this correct?



#18 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 02:23 PM

As per section 11:

 

11.3.4 Jewelry and Personal Effects

11.3.4.1 Jewelry and other loose objects shall not be worn or taken into a food handling or processing operation

or any area where food is exposed. The wearing of plain bands with no stones and medical alert bracelets that

cannot be removed can be permitted, however the supplier will need to consider their customer requirements and

the applicable food legislation.

 

So not always as it says medical alert bracelets that cannot be removed.

 

However as with anything you can have a risk assessment with your food safety team and decide that the risk to the product is minimal/negligible.  We had SQF L3 and we allowed medic alert necklaces tucked into the shirt as I said before.  This way a bracelet couldn't get caught in a belt or other equipment.


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#19 tadelong

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 02:27 PM

I guess I always took "Cannot" as "life-threatening bad things at hospital level may occur without," not "physically unable." Huh.

 

Bet you 15 Canadian Dollars they add a word in there within 3 years.



#20 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 02:30 PM

I guess I always took "Cannot" as "life-threatening bad things at hospital level may occur without," not "physically unable." Huh.

 

Bet you 15 Canadian Dollars they add a word in there within 3 years.

 

I can't accept payment in loonies and twonies  :shades:  I'm not in Canada enough to use them.

 

I can see how your reading that... I'm not sure what an official interpretation from SQFI would be... when I read it I read it as "If it can not physically be removed from the body". 


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#21 cazyncymru

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 03:52 PM

I'm thinking your example is an exaggerated worse case scenario...  Glass should be covered under anyone's GMPs (No glass shall be brought into the production floor".  And sometimes things like this have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

 

Though a point can be made from what you said to have some level of extremely vague language in which the Quality Manager can allow certain situations based on an appropriate risk assessment.

 

 

Yes so it should, but how do you then differentiate someone who wears a glass bangle for religious reasons and someone who wears something else , that just happens to be not glass?

 

Caz x



#22 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 04:01 PM

I think I'd ask them to find a non-glass version to wear for work conditions and make sure they understand how dangerous bringing glass is to the floor.  Then walk away.


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#23 fgjuadi

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 08:27 PM

Allow jewelry for sentimental reasons, NO. I'm sorry, where would that ever stop?

It would never stop.  Here's an example of a sentamental jelwery that should not be allowed.

 

One time, I had a pet dog choke on a bone, so they gave the bone to me and I wore it as a necklace. 

 

It was pretty chewed up and not recognizable as a beef bone, or whatever bone, so I told people (that I thoguht were stupid) that it was a human bone from a dead friend. 

 

No human bones!  Also, no jewelery made of hair - http://en.wikipedia..../Hair_jewellery

 

I think it's safe to say no jewelery made from human anything.


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#24 Snookie

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 09:06 PM

I pretty much agree with jewelry discussion with the exception of medic alert.  I understand no bracelets, but medic alert should be a necklace tucked in their shirt and I want it on them.  If there is a problem, we can within seconds access it and act it. 


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#25 sinnae404

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 10:39 PM

Thanks for some thought provoking responses.  That's my first post and I wasn't expecting to log in this morning and find so much discussion!

I can see the viewpoint of treating these type of things as black and white, but this comment did strike a chord:

 

"Also, as a human being, there is no way in hell I'm telling an employee they aren't allowed to mourn their father and must go home with out pay for a week when there is no genuine food safety risk to the product.  It seems like a weird display of power and unnecessarily cruel."

 

I think the suggestions of making exceptions a last resort, and then having a documented process to follow if they are granted, are good advice.

The reality is that the allowance of a 'plain wedding band' is already an exception, made not because of risk level but because of the strong objection some would have at removing them.  In that context, my opinion is that it becomes necessary to exercise some discretion in these cases.  

 

Thanks again to all, I've found all of the responses enlightening.






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