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Is an associate walking on pallets a food safety or a human safety concern?

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Best Answer , 16 February 2023 - 08:13 PM

Closest I've had to a problem is when we use cardboard slip sheets atop the pallets that people walked on.  The idea is that slip sheets are supposed to be a clean barrier between the dirty pallet and our clean finished product boxes, so in that circumstance a footprint is a big no-no and my procedures instructed employees to keep those slipsheets as clean as a package.

 

For those saying that stepping on a pallet becomes a food safety issue, is that due to the pallet making a clean shoe or bootie dirty and then trafficking dirt/who-knows-what from the pallet across the plant?  That's about the only issue I see relatable to food safety...


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Sayed M Naim Khalid

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Posted 14 February 2023 - 10:00 PM

I observe some associates walk on the pallets and I see their footprint. Is it a food safety concern? or it should be more a safety concern? 



Brothbro

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Posted 14 February 2023 - 10:10 PM

Hello Sayed,

 

I would consider this more of a worker safety concern. While pallets should be in good condition and not be a contamination risk to food, the surface of the pallet is not exactly considered food-contact safe (typically it's wood!). The biggest risk with someone walking on pallets is tripping and injuring themselves. Next would be damaging pallets to the point that they aren't able to carry product, leading to collapse and spilled containers.

 

Bottom line, staff should be prevented from walking on your pallets.



G M

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Posted 14 February 2023 - 10:44 PM

Personnel safety, not food safety.

 

Pallets get stacked, so the top of one pallet is no cleaner than the bottom of any pallet, and they sit on the floor. A = B = C tells us all surfaces of the pallet are no more sanitary than the floor.  



seanpaulrader

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Posted 14 February 2023 - 11:40 PM

I received a minor when our BRC storage and distribution auditor observed an associate walking on a pallet. It was solved by adding one bullet point to our GMP document.



SHQuality

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Posted 15 February 2023 - 08:56 AM

You should take action. It's a personnel safety concern and one that is quite easy to resolve.



Scotty_SQF

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Posted 15 February 2023 - 11:49 AM

I have also seen an auditor remark on seeing footprints on pallets.  Basically if you are palletizing product on these pallets it doesn't bode well for your site's food safety culture to have footprints on those pallets.  In saying that, it can be a food safety issue in a way if you take into account your company's food safety culture.



Sayed M Naim Khalid

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Posted 15 February 2023 - 01:50 PM

I received a minor when our BRC storage and distribution auditor observed an associate walking on a pallet. It was solved by adding one bullet point to our GMP document.

So did you add a point to your GMP as , " DO NOT STEP ON THE PALLETS"? could you please illustrate a little. Thanks



seanpaulrader

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Posted 15 February 2023 - 03:30 PM

So did you add a point to your GMP as , " DO NOT STEP ON THE PALLETS"? could you please illustrate a little. Thanks

 

Yes, that was exactly it. I just checked the document, and in our list of general guidelines there is a bullet point of "Do not walk on pallets."



SQFconsultant

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Posted 15 February 2023 - 04:06 PM

Both a safety and food safety issue.

I always thought it was just a safety issue until observations in a number of facilities and information I learned during a Florida Food Safety Protectors round table discussion that I participated in - it was eye opening reviewing a rabbit hole report on this and other things that vo wrong in the storage/shipping process.


Edited by SQFconsultant, 15 February 2023 - 04:07 PM.

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MDaleDDF

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Posted 15 February 2023 - 04:53 PM

Yeah, we got a mnc for this a few years back.... we're fssc 22k, auditor hit us for it.



jfrey123

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Posted 16 February 2023 - 08:13 PM   Best Answer

Closest I've had to a problem is when we use cardboard slip sheets atop the pallets that people walked on.  The idea is that slip sheets are supposed to be a clean barrier between the dirty pallet and our clean finished product boxes, so in that circumstance a footprint is a big no-no and my procedures instructed employees to keep those slipsheets as clean as a package.

 

For those saying that stepping on a pallet becomes a food safety issue, is that due to the pallet making a clean shoe or bootie dirty and then trafficking dirt/who-knows-what from the pallet across the plant?  That's about the only issue I see relatable to food safety...



Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 20 February 2023 - 01:04 PM

Closest I've had to a problem is when we use cardboard slip sheets atop the pallets that people walked on.  The idea is that slip sheets are supposed to be a clean barrier between the dirty pallet and our clean finished product boxes, so in that circumstance a footprint is a big no-no and my procedures instructed employees to keep those slipsheets as clean as a package.

 

For those saying that stepping on a pallet becomes a food safety issue, is that due to the pallet making a clean shoe or bootie dirty and then trafficking dirt/who-knows-what from the pallet across the plant?  That's about the only issue I see relatable to food safety...

 

jfrey123 - Food Safety risk if there is breakage from someone walking on a pallet that results in wood breaking off and flying into product (I've seen it happen). We handle this as purely a safety risk carrying disciplinary action if we observe anyone walking across a wood pallet. Pallets are designed to distribute the weight across larger areas of the surface of the pallet. I have personally seen (and done it myself) a person step on the slat of a pallet and it crack and scrape their ankle. Under the right circumstances, this injury could be much worse than that including becoming a recordable injury. Not to mention the slip / trip hazard associated with it which could also lead to much more severe injury. Bottom line if you prohibit it on the basis of safety, which is completely within reason, it solves the food safety issue as well.





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