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How to establish a tool accountability system?

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 07:41 PM

Does anyone have pointers on how to establish tool accountability?  Our maintenance mechanics all have personal tool chests that they bring into the process area when repairs are being done.  They check the box on the work order that states all tools have been accounted for.  I don't know how you can account for all your tools when you most likely do not have an inventory of what you have brought to the job.  


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Posted 23 August 2017 - 07:59 PM

Well you can always have a QA tech stand next to their carts, and take note of everything they take on and off, and piss off/slow down your mechanics greatly in the process!  They can also verify by visual inspection on the spot whether all tools are removed or not.  This is costly and will slow down everything, but it's either that or the mechanics have to check-out their own tools for their current job, which I know would start a riot here.  Maybe have them record on the work order what tools they will be using, so at least you can account for all the tools that made their way off the cart/out of the toolbox.  Mechanics aren't exactly given the liberty of mise en place like a chef though, so this will also greatly slow down repair times, as in my experience there's usually multiple trips to the cart and back.  


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Posted 23 August 2017 - 08:07 PM



 They check the box on the work order that states all tools have been accounted for.


So, then I would ask have you had problems with tools being left behind and/or making it into product/contaminating surfaces? If not, a "verification" that the tools were removed like you already have should be sufficient.


Risk assess based on results, if you have had issues with tools getting left behind, then use those issues to demand a more thorough accountability system. If you haven't, then the maintenance team has a point that you're making their job harder for a non-issue.


If you still want to increase the level of scrutiny on this issue, have the operator of the room also sign off on the work order that all tools are removed. Two signatures tend to add accountability on both sides, since neither person wants the other to get them in trouble.

Austin Bouck
Owner/Consultant at Fur, Farm, and Fork.
Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

Subscribe to the blog at furfarmandfork.com for food safety research, insights, and analysis.


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Posted 23 August 2017 - 08:27 PM

in my company, we only need to validate that all tools used were accounted for with a signature and date.

We are not required to list the tools in detail. 

You could also have a controlled list of tools that are required with room to add additional that the person prefers to have.  Maybe have them take inventory weekly?

Nikki R

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:17 AM

My company use a tool tracking form. It has column's for date, date, tools used, tools returned to store and signature of maintenance personnel and area supervisor to confirm that the area has been cleared of all maintenance equipment and debris. This was the most effective simple way we could think of doing it. BRC auditors are happy with it as are our staff. the key to getting people to complete these things are letting them be involved with the development of the procedures so they work best for those involved and let them know how important to safety and maintaining accreditation these little 2annoyances" are

Ryan M.

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 09:22 PM

Our SOP depends on the level of risk.  Since our product is mostly in sealed / enclosed equipment there is little risk with the exception of filling / packaging where the product has some level of exposure.

In the filling / packaging area we have the operators on the line inspect and check off no tools, parts, debris, etc left behind.  They also clean and sanitize the area and verify it has been done.


In my previous workplace we had a tool and parts check out and check in process.  It worked well for that facility because the mechanics there only brought what they needed to a job, not everything under the sun.  It doesn't work at my current facility because the mechanics bring all their tools out to a job on their cart.

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