Yesterday I performed an audit of maintenance chemicals in our maintenance workshop to ensure all MSDS sheets were available in advance of our SQF audit next week.
The workshop is in the corner of the dry/ambient warehouse which is sectioned off by metal caging where the maintenance guys perform 'dirty' work such as welding and grinding.
I could not get hold of a maintenance guy so myself and a QA did a quick inventory of the chemicals to compare aginst our MSDS book. Whilst performing the inventory we noticed that there were a number of oils/lubricants/glues in the numerous tool boxes in the area - we then went through all the toolboxes and noted down any chemicals present which we did not have safety data sheets for so that we could then obtain the sheets for the file. We also found numerous personal items in the toolboxes such as personal pain medication, boxes of snuff and cigarettes which we confiscated to the QA office.
The workshop was open when I went to perform the audit - it is required to be locked when not in use - and all the tools and tool boxes were left open and unattended.
The maintenance guys have now thrown absolute fits as the toolboxes are apparently 'personal' equipment - they are owned directly by each maintenance person and not by the company - and as such they are claiming that QA have no right to go through the toolboxes or to remove perspnal items from them. It also transpires that these tool boxes regulalry travel between the workshop and the homes of the maintenance guys for personal work.
I did not know that these were personally owned and I have apologised that I did not have the owners present at the time of inspection -however all the toolboxes were unattended at the time and not locked to prevent 'unathorised' access. I also stated that the personal items are not permitted to be stored in the toolboxes as the maintenance cage is still under GMP rules as is the warehouse, and that all chemicals must be registered to ensure safety data sheets are obtained which is a requirement of SQF and OSHA. The maintenance guys are now saying that they will not allow inspections of their tool boxes which they will keep locked, and that as personal items we have no right to request inspection.
My concern is that although these are personal toolboxes they are in our facility in a GMP controlled area and although there is a dedicated toolbox which is kept in the processing area there are times when tools from the personal toolboxes are used in the factory. The policy is to clean/sanitize all tools going into the factory but it just feels wrong that we have no 'authority' to inspect items in our GMP areas which may comprimise food safety due to the movement of tools between work and home use and the storage of personal items in the toolboxes. Even if we retrain the GMP/Food Safety policies to the maintenance guys how to we check compliance if we are aunable to inspect the toolboxes?
Has anyone else faced this kind of issue and how do you manage the situation? I now have 3 very angry maintenance guys and with my SQF audit next week I want to get this resolved ASAP.