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AngelaMiller

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Posted 27 July 2022 - 04:54 PM

Our employees are required to wear disposable gloves when working on the line and with product; there are times that they are ungloved and working on equipment.  Is it acceptable to swab an employees hands when ungloved knowing the count will more then likely be high?  Our expectations would be that after they complete their ungloved activities to wash, apply disposable gear (sleeves, apron and gloves) and dip hands in sanitizer before working back on the line.  So, would swabbing ungloved employee be unfair?



kfromNE

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Posted 27 July 2022 - 05:49 PM

Why are you swabbing their hands in the first place? Have you had issues in the past?

Are the employees touching food contact surfaces on the equipment.



AngelaMiller

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Posted 27 July 2022 - 06:44 PM

Why are you swabbing their hands in the first place? Have you had issues in the past?

Are the employees touching food contact surfaces on the equipment.

Thank you for a quick reply.  Our employees are in fact working on food contact surfaces and product.  The Team Leads may have to be ungloved for example when threading film (it's a texture thing).  Would we expect them to be swabbed as is when working on the equipment knowing that it would probably create a high count or would you have that employee go back to how they would be represented on the line by washing their hands, dressing out and dipping hands in sanitizer prior to swabbing?



Charles.C

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Posted 28 July 2022 - 02:09 AM

Thank you for a quick reply.  Our employees are in fact working on food contact surfaces and product.  The Team Leads may have to be ungloved for example when threading film (it's a texture thing).  Would we expect them to be swabbed as is when working on the equipment knowing that it would probably create a high count or would you have that employee go back to how they would be represented on the line by washing their hands, dressing out and dipping hands in sanitizer prior to swabbing?

Hi Angela,

 

It may relate to what the workers are actually doing, eg handling RTE material ?.(also can relate to measured parameters).

 

IMEX the most common hand swabbing activity is implemented just prior to entering production area so evaluates the effectiveness of the handwashing stage. An advantage is that this represents a relatively defined location/activity so that comparisons are facilitated (although some texts regard this test as  pointless due the likelihood of rapid, subsequent, re-contamination).

I have less frequently seen specific  in-processing swab Standards discussed presumably due to many variables potentially involved. In your case I suggest that both ungloved and gloved hands represent contamination possibilities unless a risk assessment/data points otherwise.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Agnes_Lus

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Posted 29 July 2022 - 01:07 PM

Hi Angela,

 

The hand swab debate whether to do it or not is ongoing. Campden BRI at some point states that hand swabbing is pointless except for the behavioural response it creates amongst staff ( I better wash my hands because I might get checked). It largely depends on the risk assessment of your process (and any external requirements you may have).

As Charles said, one of the practices is to swab staff when they enter the food handling area, but I have also seen hand swabbing done in the middle of the production because that's where the worst case scenario is for ready to eat foods in particular.

 

One thing that I picked up from your initial post is that employees are required to wash and re-sanitise their hands after working without gloves and before returning back to handling the product. This is fine, but do you also require them to wash their hands when they remove gloves to carry out their ungloved work?

If yes, then whilst they are conducting the work without gloves they are contaminating the production environment as microflora on their hands multiplies very fast during the time the operatives are wearing gloves. It is a moist and warm environment with source of food (such as dead skin cells).



Scampi

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Posted 29 July 2022 - 01:54 PM

I would suggest that there are some process improvements that could be made that would bring much more value not only from a food safety perspective but also from efficiencies

 

If you're that concerned about the cleanliness of hands---perhaps you need a dedicated employee per shift that ONLY handles non food contact materials


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Brothbro

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Posted 29 July 2022 - 03:34 PM

Thank you for a quick reply.  Our employees are in fact working on food contact surfaces and product.  The Team Leads may have to be ungloved for example when threading film (it's a texture thing).  Would we expect them to be swabbed as is when working on the equipment knowing that it would probably create a high count or would you have that employee go back to how they would be represented on the line by washing their hands, dressing out and dipping hands in sanitizer prior to swabbing?

 

Can the film really only be threaded while ungloved? I've gotten into some discussions with staff in the past about changing operational norms...with enough pushing more than half the time no one has actually tried to do the process a different way. Perhaps with a certain brand of glove that fits well, the teams indeed could thread the film ungloved. Does the manufacturer of the equipment share your team's stance that the film must be threaded ungloved?



Scampi

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Posted 29 July 2022 - 03:52 PM

Can the film really only be threaded while ungloved? I've gotten into some discussions with staff in the past about changing operational norms...with enough pushing more than half the time no one has actually tried to do the process a different way. Perhaps with a certain brand of glove that fits well, the teams indeed could thread the film ungloved. Does the manufacturer of the equipment share your team's stance that the film must be threaded ungloved?

 

 

Who handles the dirty/dusty outer wrap of the film?   That person should not be gloved---from an ops standpoint it's probably the same person threading the film


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Brothbro

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Posted 29 July 2022 - 04:14 PM

Who handles the dirty/dusty outer wrap of the film?   That person should not be gloved---from an ops standpoint it's probably the same person threading the film

 

Hmm yes you're right, I did not consider the wrapping on the film. Perhaps washing/gloving up then once the film is removed from packaging? I think I'm getting too far in the weeds here, without knowing the details of the OP's process it will be hard to suggest specific improvements...






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