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Protective clothing removal at a storage and distribution site

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 04:33 PM

I am used to the Food Standard but I am now working at a Storage & Distribution Site. On site all staff in packing and warehouses wear a hi-vis and safety boots. Our policy is to remove the hi-vis before entering canteens and smoking areas (plus toilets) which seems the right thing to do. This has been challenged internally so I have reread the standard and interpretation. When the standard talks about product-handling areas, is this open product or any products? We have a small open product area which has hairnets, coats, etc and these can only be worn in this area. All other areas handle sealed product. Please can I get some advice on this. 


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Posted 12 May 2021 - 12:28 PM

Hairnets and disposable lab coats protect food from contaminants on personal clothing and hair.  These items in your plan have less control implemented than a plant can prove, so they are important to be the "outer-face" with a production environment.


If the PPE can be contaminated in other places in your facility the PPE should stay in the controlled area exclusively (hanging up away from exposed food).  Food area PPE should not be worn in the lunch room or rest rooms.  We handle hairnets a little differently since we determined the hazard of manipulating the hair to fit a new one several times a day was a bigger risk than keeping it on at all times.


Hi-vis is not part of our PPE and we are a dry facility.  So measure your risk(s) according to your reasonably foreseen hazards.



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Posted 12 May 2021 - 12:54 PM

Storage and distribution environments usually work with 80-95% of the products protected/covered by a double or even triple package, (dry/grocery, frozen) only in perishable DCs you may have some (produce?) that could be consider "exposed to the environment product" that may need an assessment to justify your decision on the use or not of any PPE (hair net), etc. 

I personally have not recommended the use of PPEs, (only gloves) and we met the standard requirements.

Good luck.

Edited by Fred73, 12 May 2021 - 12:56 PM.


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Posted 12 May 2021 - 03:47 PM


It seems that you are asking if team members working in areas with packaged product (likely shrink wrapped onto a pallet?) need to remove their hi-vis clothing prior to entering the canteen, washroom or smoking areas?

Or put another way - can you have different GMP controls for employees working with sealed product as opposed to open product areas.

If this is correct and you can document strict controls are in place to prevent anyone entering the open product areas without hairnets, coats etc. it would be my opinion that perhaps keeping the hi vis clothing on throughout the day could be justified.


That said, sometimes 2 different sets of policies can be difficult to maintain.

Only you know your facility and employees and your tolerance for defending policies which perhaps your customers or auditors may question.

Good luck!

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