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Not sure how to define and document a temporary fix?

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 05:23 PM

Hello everyone,


I am confused as how to define a temporary fix. 


I.e. We had heater problem and resulted in water condensation from the fan. To prevent it from dripping into product tank, we used a "tray" style pipe to navigate the condensation to the floor. Contractor came in 4 hours later to fix the heater.


Would this be considered a temporary fix, or a mitigation plan? Any documentation needed?




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Posted 03 September 2020 - 05:46 PM

Hello Boston,

This would largely depend on what your policy states regarding temp repairs. That policy will be influenced (governed) by the standards you are under. For example SQF's standard for GMP's for food manufacture state: Temporary repairs, where required shall not pose a food safety risk and shall be included in the cleaning program. There shall be a plan in place to address completion of temporary repairs to ensure they do not become permanent solutions.


I would expect most auditors to first and foremost look for proof that the temp fix/mitigation (the wording is interchangeable in this instance as far as I can see from your description as they both are accurate) worked correctly and that no product was contaminated during that 4 hour period. That's the shall not pose a food safety risk from the example code above. Documentation that the repair didn't itself pose a food safety risk, adequately mitigated the risk caused by the initial problem, and then that the repair was effective in mitigating the issue is what I would keep, at a minimum.

Ryan M.

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 05:47 PM

Personally I wouldn't document it, but it is up to you.  It sounds like it was fixed the same day without any incident or issue.


The only potential is if condensation did drip onto food or ingredients and cause an issue down the line.  Then you want that documentation.


BTW...a temporary fix is like a correction at the time until you can provide the corrective action.

Edited by Ryan M., 03 September 2020 - 05:48 PM.


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Posted 04 September 2020 - 08:33 AM

I would personally be careful if you choose not to record it - god forbid you do have an incident with contaminated product from those 4 hours - at least if it's recorded with all the necessary corrective/preventative plans, times etc. you can go back and say yes we know the issue has arose from this situation... not oh now we have an incident actually yes there was an undocumented heater problem...


There is no harm in documenting things - if all is fine at least it shows you had good control of the situation.


Also if a contractor was on site surely he would have completed a maintenance form or something of a similar kind? Long shot and i look way too into things but a maintenance form to fix something that could impact the safety of the product without corresponding documentation to show the risk of the situation has been assessed? (apologies - i'm a bit of a jobsworth when it comes to cross referencing these things) 


BUT having said that if anything like this arose at our site it wouldn't be documented, however that is purely because we are such a low risk product and i can't think of something at the moment that i can relate to in having an issue pose a food safety risk. 


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Posted 09 September 2020 - 04:02 PM

Following Ryan's definition of a temporary repair, one of the better policies I encountered was;


whenever a temporary repair was put in place, it had to be accompanied by a maintenance work order - that system for tracking issues and repairs was mature enough, and didn't require the creation of a "temporary repair tracking system".


For that site, it was simple and effective.


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Posted 09 September 2020 - 05:14 PM

Yes the best way is to document on a work order if you use that type of system.  We do not however.  We use the Mechanics Repair Log which he fills out daily.  If he made a temporary fix, he documents the fix, but leaves the repair open, and goes back to finalize the line item on his repair log after a permanent solution is finished.  

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