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Looking for advice on our PPE dressing procedure.


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#1 FifoFabLab

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 10:18 PM

Hello, I found this website through google. I am looking for advice and am hoping I can find it here. 
 
I am currently working for a company in a developing country. We want to eliminate our pasteurization step from the post-packaging pasteurized RTE products we produce, to better match our customer demands (lower cost, but also the long shelf isn’t really of use for our customers). So at least the packaging area would go from low-risk to high-risk. 
 
That is why I would like to make our current protocols to be more strict. But as it is not my field, I would like to hear some real advice about it. The auditors of the national agency are already satisfied with the current situation, so it is basically for our own benefit (and the customer)
 
At the start of the shift, all production personnel; 
- Enter the locker room with outdoor shoes
- Remove outdoor shoes and store them
- Change into company provided trousers and polo shirts
- Hairnet / beard snoods (if required)
- Boots
- Wash hands
- Knee length coat
- Sleeves required for the operators of the vacuum packaging machines. Not for the others. 
- Leave the locker room through the same entrance/exit as they came in with outdoor shoes. 
- Enter hygiene lock
- Wash hands
- Go through walk-through boot-washer + hand sanitizer
- Gloves
- Exit hygiene lock
- Go left for processing of raw product and cooking/cooling area. 
- Straight for vacuum packaging the cooked/cooled products. 
- Right for picking up materials from the warehouse pickup-point, post-package pasteurizing, packaging the finished products in boxes. 
 
When it is break time/bathroom, they: 
- Leave through the same hygiene lock as they came in, but exit through another walk-through boot-washer. 
- Remove gloves and sleeves (if required)
- Wash hands
- Enter locker room
- Hang coat
- Remove hairnet / beard snoods (if required)
- Keep on boots, company provided trousers and polo shirts. 
- Go to bathroom or canteen. 
- When break/bathroom time is over, they’ll use the same dressing order as they used at the start of the shift, except the same coat and boots are reused for the remainder of the shift. 
 
My thoughts; 
a. I would prefer to have a separate locker room attached to the high-risk zone, but this is not possible due to the space we currently have available to us. 
b. Suggestions have been made to have the high-risk area personnel wear face protection in the form of adding a face mask or completely change to a disposable balaclava. I wouldn’t mind adding a face mask, but the balaclava feels to me like too much and they are hard to source locally. 
c. Our local hygiene equipment supplier tells us that it doesn’t matter that outdoor shoes and work boots share the same area, because upon entry to the production facility, you have to go through the boot washer. I have my doubts about this. 
d. *If we were to implement a physical barrier between outdoor shoes and work boots, I have no idea how to do this though. Because for example if the personnel would have to store their outdoor shoes before swinging across a bench, their socks may be contaminated, and contaminate the area after swinging across. If they have to store them after swinging across the bench, the socks are most likely clean (depending on what they do at home) but the carrying of the outdoor shoes and outdoor clothes might contaminate the area… Maybe someone could explain how this is done usually?
e. The same hallway is used to access low-risk areas and the high-risk area, so I want to suggest we have to add another hygiene lock for high-risk. I am thinking about replacing the entry boot-washer for a foot bath (the soles should be clean from debris anyway) with sanitizer, but keep the exit boot-washer. Relocate the same entry boot washer to the high-risk hygiene lock, because the hallway may contain debris from low-risk personnel picking up materials from the warehouse pickup-point. 
f. I have seen people advocating against boot washers, because they might be a source of contamination, but the non-profit organisation that advised my employee a few years ago highly recommends them. 
 
I would love to have some advice about the following suggestion. 
At the start of the shift, all production personnel; 
- Enter the locker room with outdoor shoes. 
- Remove outdoor shoes
- Swing over bench
- Find boots and company provided trousers/polo shirt. 
- Put on boots/trousers/polo shirt. 
- Hairnet / beard snoods (if required)
- Store outside boots and outside clothes/belongings in locker*
- Wash hands
- Knee length coat
- Sleeves required for high-risk personnel. 
- Leave the locker room through a different exit. 
- Enter hygiene lock
- Wash hands and sanitize
- Gloves
- Go through foot bath with sanitizer. 
 
Now  low-risk either goes left or right for their areas and high-risk will go straight into another hygiene lock, where they have to; 
- (wash and?) sanitize gloves
- Foot bath with sanitizer or a boot washer because the hallway might contain debris from low-risk area. 
 
 
When it is break/bathroom time: 
- High-risk personnel leave through their hygiene lock to the main hallway, but they don’t have to take any steps in this hygiene lock.  
- Now all personnel leave through the same hygiene lock as they came in, but exit through a walk-through boot-washer. 
- Remove gloves and sleeves (if required)
- Wash hands
- Enter locker room
- Hang coat
- Remove boots and place back in the boot rack. 
- Get outdoor shoes or maybe even company shoes (feels a bit redundant)
- Swing over bench
- Put on shoes, keep on company provided trousers and polo shirts. 
- Go to bathroom or canteen. 
- When break/bathroom time is over, they’ll use the same dressing order as they used at the start of the shift, except the same coat and boots are reused. 
 
Some additional things: 
- Personnel is not allowed to go outside with company clothes. 
- Low-risk won’t be allowed to visit the high-risk area except for the supervisors and maintenance. As of right now, this practice is already in place. 
- High-risk company wear will be a different colour and stored in a different place.   
 
 
Well this turned out to be longer than I expected, anyways if you have read this far, thank you for reading it all. I would appreciate any kind of feedback about wrong methods, redundancy or just plain old mistakes. We are looking for a good method in maintaining the neccesary hygiene that is required for our product. 
 


#2 Charles.C

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Posted 06 May 2019 - 06:49 AM

Hi Fifo,

 

In order to get meaningful responses you will probably need to provide some details regarding the vacuum packed product and process.

 

Regardless of worker sanitation protocols, there is usually a valid reason why a process for a RTE item has a pasteurisation stage ?.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 FifoFabLab

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Posted 06 May 2019 - 12:55 PM

Hi Fifo,

 

In order to get meaningful responses you will probably need to provide some details regarding the vacuum packed product and process.

 

Regardless of worker sanitation protocols, there is usually a valid reason why a process for a RTE item has a pasteurisation stage ?.

 

Hello Charles, thank you for commenting on my post. 

 

Currently the RTE product (one product, different package sizes) comes out of the cooling tunnel onto a conveyer belt, where it is then conveyed to the packaging room. The product is manually loaded into the trays of the thermoformer, where it is subsequently vacuum packed by the machine.

 

To meet regulations and our advertised labeled shelf life, we are using the post-packaging pasteurisation step as a post lethality treatment. With this step we are getting a 30 day ambient shelf life as confirmed by an independent laboratory.

 

As the 30 day ambient shelf-life isn't really used and most customers refrigerate the product anyway. We are planning to introduce new products to cut costs. (different package to avoid confusion with the old product)

 

By eliminating the pasteurisation stage, adding a sodium/potassium lactate solution to our product, implementing testing of food contact surfaces (which we already do) and a few other requirements like for example we'll have to provide documentation that the mentioned solution will sufficiently inhibit Lm growth for the duration of the product's shelf life. We'll meet the right regulations and are confident we won't have any issues with Listeria. Or at least when swabbing is positive, we can take the right measurements. 

 

And the auditor told us that because the new product won't have a post lethality treatment and will require refrigerated storage, the packaging area will switch from a low-risk to a high-risk area. 

 

 

I hope I have given enough information for someone to give a meaningful response.


Edited by FifoFabLab, 06 May 2019 - 12:58 PM.





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