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Baseball caps for warehouse workers. Is this acceptable practice?


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#1 Mark.V

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 03:06 PM

Hi!

 

I am currently having a discussion with management if warehouse workers are allowed to wear baseball caps instead of hair nets? Baseball caps have always been worn by the warehouse workers, years before I started and we were just wondering if this practice is okay?

 

As for our production workers, dealing with exposed product they ONLY wear hair nets and beard nets. But for warehouse workers, I personally feel wearing a cap is "okay"...but I do get the sanitation concerns even if integrated in our cleaning program... We only have 3 warehouse personnel, I know for a fact enforcing hairnets for them will be an uphill battle; however, if SQF states baseball caps are not allowed then we will have to climb.

 

There have been previous discussions on this topic that I have read but I could not find one specific to warehouse workers. I cannot tell if the responses are more of a preference or if it is a definitive rule that baseball caps are not allowed?

 

(Ps. we deal with raw products, not RTE, only various vegetables).

 

Thx a ton,

 

Mark



#2 Timwoodbag

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 03:19 PM

12.3.4 Jewelry and Personal Effects 12.3.4.1 Jewelry and other loose objects shall not be worn or taken into any area where exposed food is recouped. The wearing of wedding rings and medical alert bracelets (plain bands with no stones) that cannot be removed can be permitted, however the site will need to consider their customer requirements and the applicable food legislation.

 

 

Warning I only deal with Manufacturing BUT on the floor we require hairnets, and allow a cap to be worn on top if desired.  I did have an auditor once point out they do not like baseball caps because of the little plastic dot on the top, especially cheaply made company branded hats, the little dot falls off quite often and can land in the food.  However, they did not give us a non-conformance.  If I was an auditor, I would call a baseball cap a "loose object" such as jewelry (you wouldn't allow a princess tiara right?).  Therefore, if I were you, I would make sure those three employees are not near any "exposed or recouped" food.  



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#3 The Food Scientist

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 03:28 PM

Risk assessment. What is the risk associated with them wearing caps in the warehouse? Have you ever had issues, customer complaints..etc associated with them wearing the caps in the warehouse? Just like Timwoodbag said, any loose objects from the caps? 


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#4 SQFconsultant

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 04:34 PM

Look up 11.4 - vii. 

 

Assuming no exposed product in warehouse an your warehouse workers do not venture into areas where exposed product is... baseball type caps are fine - I would however recommend at your company supply them and they are sans attachments (lettering, logo's, etc) so you don't get into foreign matter issues.


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#5 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 06:18 PM

Caps are fine, every fast food place uses them instead of bouffants (though we go above and beyond local legislation and contamination risk is higher in manufacturing), don't let anyone tell you that McDonalds doesn't take their GMP's seriously, they just do good risk assessment.

 

If there's no exposed product you technically don't need anything, this just becomes an issue because your workers will inevitably go into spaces where the PPE is actually needed but not be used to wearing it, or it causes enforcement issues because your employees don't like that not everyone has to do it or do it all the time.

 

As far as caps getting gross, that can be an issue because folks sweat into them and pretty much never wash them, so it's much worse than personal clothing in terms of a potential contaminant. If you want to adopt a cap/beanie policy, I would specify that employees need to keep them "visibly clean and odor free". The gross caps are easy to spot.


Austin Bouck
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Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

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#6 Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 02:04 PM

The risk assessment should cover every aspect of allowing hats if it points toward no risk in wearing them. We had an issue for about a minute when we designated on "High Hygiene" area and didn't require hair nets and beard snoods anywhere else in the building. Once we explained the risk analysis we didn't hear anything else. Most employees just want to be in the loop and have the communication as to the "why's" of decisions. Once we tightened up our communication we had FAR fewer issues with push-back. Even posting memo has helped considerably.



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#7 Mark.V

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 03:18 PM

Thank you for the responses (sorry for the late reply).

 

 

Risk assessment. What is the risk associated with them wearing caps in the warehouse? Have you ever had issues, customer complaints..etc associated with them wearing the caps in the warehouse? Just like Timwoodbag said, any loose objects from the caps? 

 

It seems as though if the risk assessment shows low risk it should be fine. We have had no customer complaints or any issues involving the use of caps. I can include a monitoring procedure to go along with our GMP Checklist for ensuring the caps are clean and well maintained. We only have 2-3 warehouse workers to monitor so this would be a breeze. We are also discussing ordering hats with our company logo like the SQFConsultant suggested.

 

There are no exposed products in the warehouse where they spend 95% of their time. That small 5% may include venturing into the processing area to exit the building from the front exit (due to design of the building) if they do not take the back exit. Which is possible in winter months where the back areas may not be as plowed as the front. That situation is where I can see an auditor getting picky but even so, very very small distance. I still feel the risk is low. 

 

Mark


Edited by Mark.V, 12 December 2019 - 03:19 PM.


#8 TN JK

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 03:47 PM

12.3.4 Jewelry and Personal Effects 12.3.4.1 Jewelry and other loose objects shall not be worn or taken into any area where exposed food is recouped. The wearing of wedding rings and medical alert bracelets (plain bands with no stones) that cannot be removed can be permitted, however the site will need to consider their customer requirements and the applicable food legislation.

 

 

Warning I only deal with Manufacturing BUT on the floor we require hairnets, and allow a cap to be worn on top if desired.  I did have an auditor once point out they do not like baseball caps because of the little plastic dot on the top, especially cheaply made company branded hats, the little dot falls off quite often and can land in the food.  However, they did not give us a non-conformance.  If I was an auditor, I would call a baseball cap a "loose object" such as jewelry (you wouldn't allow a princess tiara right?).  Therefore, if I were you, I would make sure those three employees are not near any "exposed or recouped" food.  

I am not sure if allowing a cap (if it is used elsewhere i.e. at home/ transit/ places other than your company) on top of hairnet is good idea.

A clean cap (company supplied, used only within company) would deemed to be fine for warehouse employees and that too only in the areas where there is no exposed product.



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