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Thoughts on wearing pants that are about 5 inches below the knees


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#1 The Food Scientist

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 02:16 PM

Hi everyone! 

 

So we are a low-risk dry seasoning/spice manufacturer. Part of our dress code is long pants. A sanitation employee came wearing pants that are about 5 inches below the knees. And everyone is giving her a hard time. As the FS Manager I like to enforce rules but rules that can be justified. HR Manager if fighting me telling me those pants are unacceptable. However my view is that they are not a risk to food safety. Yes they run around production/GMP areas but are not food handlers. He thinks these are not acceptable and his justification is that some women don't shave so the leg hair may be exposed... hmmm. Personally never saw that. I worked at a company before that was a higher risk and they were allowed to wear shorts (knee legnth only). From a FS perspective, what are everyones thoughts? 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#2 larissaj

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 02:23 PM

Do you produce anything that can be at ankle length? My thoughts are that if no food is at that level then should be safe. Also do the argument with arm hair lol. It's always bad to play those cards but still, wearing those types of pants is not bad. What does it say in the policy as well? Maybe youll have to change it so that the rules are black and white. No questionable dress codes.



#3 The Food Scientist

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 02:44 PM

Do you produce anything that can be at ankle length? My thoughts are that if no food is at that level then should be safe. Also do the argument with arm hair lol. It's always bad to play those cards but still, wearing those types of pants is not bad. What does it say in the policy as well? Maybe youll have to change it so that the rules are black and white. No questionable dress codes.

 

No we don't make anything ankle and not even knee length! The policy was set from the previous manager (who happens to be this HR manager's daughter), so he is kind of sticking to what she enforced. But to me, I see zero risk. 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#4 larissaj

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 02:47 PM

I dont see the risk. I am kindof in the same boat with people having an issue with a dress I wore (I am the QA Manager) and I asked what the difference would be if the shorts I wore last week was the same length and the issue is just staff being upset because it doesnt say I can or cant wear a dress. I also go in the production area when needed so they had an issue with me being in the office breaking a non existent rule. 



#5 SQFconsultant

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 04:01 PM

The policy calls for long pants as you said.

That's the policy.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC Group | +1.800.793.7042 | Serving the Food, Food Packaging & Food Storage Industries
SQF Development, Implementation, eContinuity & Certification Consultants 
 
In a nutshell we help small to large businesses to get their act together (as needed), help them to co-develop
entire SQF documentation systems, make recommendations as to installations and repairs in order
to get certified and continue with on-going support thru our popular eConsultant program and we do
all within 30 days so your staff can implement with our assistance to retain and get new business!
 
Serving the new Republic of the United States of America & Alliance Countries

http://www.GlennOster.com


#6 The Food Scientist

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 04:02 PM

The policy calls for long pants as you said.

That's the policy.

 

Yes I know but a policy can be changed. 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#7 Setanta

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 04:07 PM

Also, long pants serve to prevent injuries like cuts and scrapes. This can save W/C insurance money.


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#8 QAGB

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 04:15 PM

Also, long pants serve to prevent injuries like cuts and scrapes. This can save W/C insurance money.

 

This is more along the lines of what I was thinking. Especially if the employee handles cleaning chemicals and can be in areas where injuries are likelier to happen. I don't think the "short pants" would be a problem for food necessarily, it's just been one of those things that I've always expected employees who work in or around production areas to wear pants. I don't want to have to assess how short someone's shorts are, and I don't want to have a long, nebulous policy on clothing that can and cannot be worn.



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#9 SQFconsultant

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 04:23 PM

Most times I see that long pants are a preventative for both injury to the person and transmital of whatever from the person to food, equipment, etc.  Thus once you allow one person with shorts, everybody wants to do the same. Sure policies can be changed, but why change one that protects both the company and the employee.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC Group | +1.800.793.7042 | Serving the Food, Food Packaging & Food Storage Industries
SQF Development, Implementation, eContinuity & Certification Consultants 
 
In a nutshell we help small to large businesses to get their act together (as needed), help them to co-develop
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to get certified and continue with on-going support thru our popular eConsultant program and we do
all within 30 days so your staff can implement with our assistance to retain and get new business!
 
Serving the new Republic of the United States of America & Alliance Countries

http://www.GlennOster.com


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#10 The Food Scientist

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:00 PM

Most times I see that long pants are a preventative for both injury to the person and transmital of whatever from the person to food, equipment, etc.  Thus once you allow one person with shorts, everybody wants to do the same. Sure policies can be changed, but why change one that protects both the company and the employee.

 

I agree however I have not mentioned shorts. I am talking about pants that come about 5 inches below the knees.


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#11 Setanta

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:08 PM

They are not full length pants.

 

You wanted our opinions.. :)


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#12 SQFconsultant

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:10 PM

By default you have mentioned shorts - anything not "long" is short.

 

Well, it's kinda like long, well maybe it's kinda like short - this was the explanation I got one day when conducting an audit on a place where the gmp rules required long pants - same thing, 4-6 inches below the knew and then they wanted to argue about the location of the drop from the position of the knee - I seem to remember I kept on walking.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC Group | +1.800.793.7042 | Serving the Food, Food Packaging & Food Storage Industries
SQF Development, Implementation, eContinuity & Certification Consultants 
 
In a nutshell we help small to large businesses to get their act together (as needed), help them to co-develop
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to get certified and continue with on-going support thru our popular eConsultant program and we do
all within 30 days so your staff can implement with our assistance to retain and get new business!
 
Serving the new Republic of the United States of America & Alliance Countries

http://www.GlennOster.com


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#13 The Food Scientist

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:28 PM

They are not full length pants.

 

You wanted our opinions.. :)

 

 Capris perhaps? 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#14 The Food Scientist

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:30 PM

Just to stay on the safe side and to avoid any conflicts between staff, I will keep the policy as it is.. Thanks everyone!


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#15 Setanta

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 06:05 PM

 Capris perhaps? 

No, you sound like my employees.

Not on my watch


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#16 MsMars

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 07:08 PM

The risk may not be there food safety wise, but if you have a policy for long pants, it should be enforced.  

Definitely see a potential for some safety issues with capris, flood pants, gauchos, and what-have-you.  Those are the kinds of risks that should be explained to the employee by HR - leave the leg hair out of it.



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#17 Parkz58

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 06:18 PM

Specify exactly what "long pants" are.  In my clothing policy, it clearly states:

 

"Full-length pants, such as jeans, khakis, or corduroys, are required at all times. Shorts, capris (or other short pants), sweat/yoga pants, or baggy pants of any kind are not allowed. Pants must be worn at waist level and must cover from the waist to the top of the boot/shoe at minimum when the wearer is standing."

 

I recognize that desire to be flexible...but once you start to give, things quickly become ambiguous and subject to interpretation.  You may also be accused of favoritism for bending for one person, but not for another...just opens up Pandora's Box, in my opinion.

 

Make your standard objective, not subjective, and it will save you a lot of headaches.



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#18 Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 02:43 PM

I run into this all of the time, Company policy is confused with Food Safety policy. It is our company policy to require company issued shirts and not allow zippers or buttons or hoodies but employees can wear a clean plain sweatshirt with no logos in good condition when necessary but it has to be in a locker if they don't wear it. It satisfies our Food Safety plan but I don't have to enforce it as SQF Assurance Manager, I can kick it back to the department Supervisors for enforcement If I need (want) to. that being said, I would ask why was the policy implemented in the first place? If your "Risk Management" company "encouraged" yo to implement it I would leave it in place, as the practitioner I doubt you have the authority to override company policy if it gives the company a break or reduces their risk somehow. As for enforcement, my job is to enforce all company rules whether they seem to me to be justified according to our Food Safety System or not. I did however change some company policy that violated our Food Safety System. Sometimes the lines are a bit blurred and it's our job to help bring them into focus.



#19 GMO

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 02:57 PM

In my view the companies who have their hygienic clothing as trousers and jackets are kidding themselves.  A knee length coat is far more hygienic.  Personally I would change to coats if you can then you can be far more open about what is worn underneath.  But in the meantime, if trousers are part of the workwear (erroneously in my view) it should be enforced for the sake of otherwise you will have people with jackets and all kind of stuff on the lower half which could become a food safety hazard, e.g. buttons, sequins etc.  You'd be better off with coats though.



#20 AC2018

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 04:25 PM

This has always been tricky in my experience. My best advice would be to make the policy however you feel fits and stick to it. If you want to change it to allow "capris" then go for it but like I have always been told, be able to justify your 'why'. 






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