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New Ear Piercing, how to manage until they heal?


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PollyKBD

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 07:01 PM

I had an employee approach me and ask what he could do if he were to pierce his ears as he would have to have something in his ears temporarily until they healed. My first instinct was, "absolutely nothing, don't do it, you can't!" Instead, I told him I would look into it. So now I'm here as a green food safety supervisor, asking the professionals. Is there anything he can do? Has anyone been through this with their staff? 

I'm of the philosophy that work isn't the only aspect of life worth living, to each his own, but my job is about protecting the product we manufacture and I can't make these two meld at the moment.

Any stories, advice, experience would be appreciated. Thank you!

 



MsMars

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 07:23 PM

Hi Polly - see this thread for a similar discussion: 

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...g-up-piercings/

 

Personally I do not make any exceptions for anyone on jewelry/piercings; it's just too much of a foreign material risk for the products that I work with.  Yes, people have lives outside of work, but once you start making exceptions for one person it quickly gets out of control.  If this employee values his job/career, he should know the expectations of the industry.



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Charles.C

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 10:04 PM

Hi Polly,

 

Perhaps you should also consult yr unit's OSHA representative for a (USA) legal opinion.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Stellakolwa

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 08:10 AM

I would also not allow that because if you start allowing one person,next you will realize that you have like ten employees who also want to pierce their ears and since you allowed one,i don't know how you will handle the rest......



Brendan Triplett

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 09:09 AM

SQF gives you guidance on this.

 

11.3.4 Jewelry and Personal Effects - 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 prescribed medical alert bracelets can be permitted, however the site will need to consider their customer requirements and the applicable food legislation.

 

11.3.1.3 Personnel - Personnel with exposed cuts, sores or lesions shall not be engaged in handling or processing products or handling primary packaging materials or food contact surfaces.  Minor cuts or abrasions on exposed parts of the body shall be covered with a colored bandage containing a metal strip or alternative suitable waterproof and colored dressing.

 

It seems to me that you are just asking for trouble here.  Short answer is no jewelry except as defined by SQF.  Hope this helps.

 

Cheers!


Director of Operations/Vice President and SQF Practitioner in Pennsylvania
Brendan Triplett


FurFarmandFork

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 02:33 PM

Also, if you want a legal precedent. The Oregon food safety code doesn't even allow medical alert bracelets in food manufacturing facilities.

 

Pretty hard to justify a cosmetic preference over a medical need.


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.

Scampi

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 04:39 PM

I concur with all above and will add have HR add this to the employee handbook...........employees need to know when they are hired what they are signing up for, then you never have to deal with this again

 

at my PP, 2 warnings and out the door (and i still had to take 1 employee to HR) BUT she never wore them again (the downside of hairnets over ears........you can't see earlobes) i caught her coming out of production at the end of shift, pop went the hairnet and me oh my earrings in both ears!!!


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Glam

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:45 PM

Any regular piercing is not allowed but we had an employee with a diath ear piercing.

 

HR hired an employee and when going through the initial new hire food safety lessons and SOPs the employee mentioned their diath ear piercing. It's a piercing that helps some people with migraines. You can't remove it like a typical earring. It's made to be permanent. To mitigate this risk the supervisor has to confirm, initial, on record at the start/end of shift and throughout the shift that the piercing is still accounted for. This way if during the shift if it goes missing we know what product needs to be searched.

 

I had to do some research on diath piercings but people who have them go many years without ever taking them out.

 

Anyone every run into issues or employees with diath piercings?



kfromNE

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:49 PM

Also, if you want a legal precedent. The Oregon food safety code doesn't even allow medical alert bracelets in food manufacturing facilities.

 

Pretty hard to justify a cosmetic preference over a medical need.

 

Crazy enough, most state food codes don't allow them. I taught food service businesses food safety classes for a number of years and I always questioned this as well. The response I got from inspectors - if an employee does have a medical condition - then there supervisor should be made aware.



Mulan1010

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 08:13 PM

I totally agree we should work to live not live to work but requirements are requirements and every employee is notified of the requirements upon orientation; it is not just your company it is pretty much universal.  If the employee really wants to pierce his ears then he can plan to do it and take vacation time until it heals. 



Lesley.Roberts

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 08:02 AM

Hi Polly - whilst I agree that people have a life outside of work & would certainly support their rights in this regard, there is a tendency for humans to push their luck where rules are concerned.

 

For a visitor to site who can't remove a piercing this can be covered with a blue metal detectable plaster (normal rules for plaster control apply) as the risk is low, but this is not appropriate for production staff in constant contact with a food product, and, as other contributors say this "opens the floodgates".

 

I'd love to have my tongue & eyebrow pierced but recognise that, as group quality manager, this really wouldn't set the right example!.... so, recognising that I work in the food industry & there are known rules for jewellery, I have refrained from any new visible piercings for this reason.

 

Staff can get piercings on their vacation & hope that these have healed in time for their return to work.

 

 

 

 

BTW - there is currently no medical evidence that diath piercings can manage migranes & there are other treatments available

https://www.medicaln...cles/317637.php


Edited by Lesley.Roberts, 04 October 2018 - 08:07 AM.


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Gilles

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 08:11 AM

Common people give your employees a break....

This person is good enough to ask and a "no because it is written in a book" is not the right way.

 

What I would do and I would know I would win over every auditor with:

What is the risk for the product

 -does this person work directly above the product

 -is there a metal detector in the proces.

 -when covered, hairnet, band aid, headphones or all, can the ring fall our

 -can he do an hourly check to check if everything is this there.

 - etc.

 

So much you can do for your employees then just follow the written rules.

 

I once had an BRC auditor who had real long chest hair which  came up to his chin.

We had a disussion about this if there was a risk for the products and his answer was; no because BRC only states normal hair and beards....

If this is the way we are going then you can better quit your job.

 

All these norms like BRC, IFS etc. are guidelines to guarantee a food safe product, deviation are allowed if there is a good explanation.

 

Sorry for the rant



Nikki R

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 08:53 AM

We have allowed new peircings in the past. They have to be covered with a blue metal detectable plaster at all times.

We also created a check list where the peircing is checked by a supervisor at the start and end of every shift and a hourly intervals to ensure that the peircing and back have not been lost. Employess are expected to remove the peircing for work once it has healed and they are able to do so.

 

We have only had to use this procedure twice in the 18 years I have been here. People will get peircings because they want (or in one case they were drunk!) you cant expect people to give up life for work. Most people accept they work in food and cant but you get the odd spirited member who goes ahead anyway. As long as an auditior can see it was controlled and food not at risk I think you would be OK. We would move people out of open food areas into enclosed packing areas as well whist they had the piercing in to reduce risk further. 



sqflady

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 12:21 PM

We used to allow them to be covered with blue metal detectable bandages.  However, one of our suppliers was cited on their SQF audit for this same practice.  We have gone to not allowing any piercings, period.  This is reviewed with all employees upon hire and at annual refresher training.



Scampi

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 12:52 PM

Adding a band aid introduces a hazard that wouldn't otherwise be there........fixing an issue with another issue isn't practicing basic HACCP

 

Giles............every job has it's own set of requirements..........you line of thought suggests that every employee in any environment has the right to say "that shouldn't apply to me"

 

Risk assessments should not be used to introduce risk that shouldn't otherwise be there

 

And I wouldn't allow the chest hair, that would require a tactful conversation (FYI hair is an issue not because it's unsightly but because it carries bacteria) 

 

 

NOW---should an employee request a discussion BEFORE the new piercing.........perhaps an arrangement could be made to move employee departments (and wear a bandage) while it heals

 

I wholeheartedly agree about work not taking over your life............i have 5 holes in my ears and haven't worn earrings in at least 15 years.........I work in food, just not worth the hassle


Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs





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