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What is the rationale behind making sure items are not on top of lockers?

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Best Answer , 07 May 2024 - 05:22 PM

Do you know what?  Thank you for asking the question.  So often we end up accepting a standard without questioning why it's there.  But harking back to my first days in the food industry, getting on for nearly 25 years ago, it was a rule then too and it was explained to me that in UK food factories we don't just "not permit storage on top of lockers" we actually manufacture them with angled sloping tops.  Yes, we absolutely spoon feed our staff in the UK but to be honest, it's also not a daft idea; it's along the lines of the ERICPD stuff I'm always wittering on about.  If you make it so hard NOT to comply with a rule, while we have some ingenious operators, I've not found one yet able to break the law of gravity.

So with our sloping tops, the reason I was told and I think it's fair is that when you have tops covered in stuff, you can't clean them.  No cleaning and difficult to inspect means potential pest food and / or harbourage.

Do I believe it?  Probably 80% I do and 20% it just would look messy otherwise.  I think the lockers being off the floor to enable inspection and cleaning is probably more important.  But this is a rule that's SO established in UK food manufacturing, it's not one I struggle with compliance with to be honest so we crack on and continue with it.  Also messy = bad in the workplace just in terms of setting the tone for food manufacturing so yeah, I would defend that rule even if I'm not 100% bought into it being vital.


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zechzplz

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Posted 07 May 2024 - 04:31 PM

"Tops of lockers should not be used for storage"

 

Is this something that you have in your policy? I realize our locker room policy has to be better defined, but we just had an audit where the auditor made this comment. Being in the food industry, I've heard this, but was wondering if the item is not food, what is the rationale? Why do the tops of lockers need to be empty? Is it merely so that sanitation of the tops of lockers can be cleaned? 

 

Any information helps! When I communicate non-conformances, I like to provide rationale so people are more willing to comply! 



Aartisharma98

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Posted 07 May 2024 - 04:54 PM

Is this something that you have in your policy? I realize our locker room policy has to be better defined, but we just had an audit where the auditor made this comment. Being in the food industry, I've heard this, but was wondering if the item is not food, what is the rationale? Why do the tops of lockers need to be empty? Is it merely so that sanitation of the tops of lockers can be cleaned? 

 

Any information helps! When I communicate non-conformances, I like to provide rationale so people are more willing to comply! 

we can introduce contaminants from locker rooms to processing. For e.g.: Dirty shoes (carrying soil) although not edible can carry pathogens/microbes. I know you wouldn't keep soiled shoes on top but you never know (some employees might) but something else which can carry microbes can be on top of the lockers


Edited by Aartisharma98, 07 May 2024 - 04:56 PM.


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Setanta

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Posted 07 May 2024 - 04:56 PM

What kind of thing do you most often find on lockers? IME, if the lockers are flat, you will find shoes up there.

 

You can't maintain clean lockers if you have dirty shoes on the top of them. Also, what happens to the stuff that slides off the back and can no longer be reached? If it's food, it's going to go bad and then be an pest attractant.


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Posted 07 May 2024 - 05:22 PM   Best Answer

Do you know what?  Thank you for asking the question.  So often we end up accepting a standard without questioning why it's there.  But harking back to my first days in the food industry, getting on for nearly 25 years ago, it was a rule then too and it was explained to me that in UK food factories we don't just "not permit storage on top of lockers" we actually manufacture them with angled sloping tops.  Yes, we absolutely spoon feed our staff in the UK but to be honest, it's also not a daft idea; it's along the lines of the ERICPD stuff I'm always wittering on about.  If you make it so hard NOT to comply with a rule, while we have some ingenious operators, I've not found one yet able to break the law of gravity.

So with our sloping tops, the reason I was told and I think it's fair is that when you have tops covered in stuff, you can't clean them.  No cleaning and difficult to inspect means potential pest food and / or harbourage.

Do I believe it?  Probably 80% I do and 20% it just would look messy otherwise.  I think the lockers being off the floor to enable inspection and cleaning is probably more important.  But this is a rule that's SO established in UK food manufacturing, it's not one I struggle with compliance with to be honest so we crack on and continue with it.  Also messy = bad in the workplace just in terms of setting the tone for food manufacturing so yeah, I would defend that rule even if I'm not 100% bought into it being vital.



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jfrey123

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Posted 07 May 2024 - 07:21 PM

I didn't get it at first, until one of my earliest auditors grabbed a lunch box that was up there and started rifling through it.  They do the same thing with unlocked lockers, idea being if it's open and out then anyone could go through it anyway, so they're entitled to check for hazards.  I also recognize the sanitation factor:  flat high surfaces are more likely to be missed, so any accumulated dirt and debris up there get carried from whatever was placed there down onto a breakroom table or what have you, increasing the risk it becomes a problem in the future.  For the same reason, we don't let staff store their lunch boxes on the floor where shoes track in god knows what before the lunch box gets picked up and set onto a table.  I always add my breakrooms to the master sanitation schedule, daily frequency, and have call outs on the forms for all the areas that need to be cleaned:  locker tops and faces, cabinets, counters, sinks, tables, so on and so forth.

 

Sloping tops above the lockers are the way to go.  Prevent the issue from even becoming a thing to begin with.



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G M

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Posted 07 May 2024 - 07:40 PM

Is this something that you have in your policy? I realize our locker room policy has to be better defined, but we just had an audit where the auditor made this comment. Being in the food industry, I've heard this, but was wondering if the item is not food, what is the rationale? Why do the tops of lockers need to be empty? Is it merely so that sanitation of the tops of lockers can be cleaned? 

 

Any information helps! When I communicate non-conformances, I like to provide rationale so people are more willing to comply! 

 

Visual inspection would be my guess.  Most people can't see the top of a typical block of lockers (to know it is clean and no contraband is stowed there), but if its sloped you are preventing people from putting things there and making it visually inspectable all in one feature.



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Posted 07 May 2024 - 07:53 PM

Oh, we have sloped tops too, but people are ingenious!


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Posted 08 May 2024 - 09:45 AM

;)

 

smart engineers and sloped tops.. this what you need to avoid the entire problem.. 



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Posted 08 May 2024 - 01:02 PM

The standard is one thing, but for me, I'm OCD.   If I let stuff be on top of lockers it'd be a mess.   My guys would throw sweatshirts, pants, whatever up there, and they'd never clean it up.  

I would have a stroke due to needing everything clean ALL THE TIME!   Lol.



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zechzplz

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Posted 08 May 2024 - 01:39 PM

Thank you everyone for your responses and helping me understand this requirement!!! I truly appreciate the insight! 



Aartisharma98

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Posted 08 May 2024 - 01:39 PM

The standard is one thing, but for me, I'm OCD.   If I let stuff be on top of lockers it'd be a mess.   My guys would throw sweatshirts, pants, whatever up there, and they'd never clean it up.  

I would have a stroke due to needing everything clean ALL THE TIME!   Lol.

It's a good practice also locker audit besides checksheet for personnel (include things they need to make sure needs to be done and save all the trouble) to fill and submit.



Aartisharma98

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Posted 08 May 2024 - 01:42 PM

Thank you everyone for your responses and helping me understand this requirement!!! I truly appreciate the insight! 

:smile:



Tony-C

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Posted 08 May 2024 - 02:11 PM

Do you know what?  Thank you for asking the question.  So often we end up accepting a standard without questioning why it's there.  But harking back to my first days in the food industry, getting on for nearly 25 years ago, it was a rule then too and it was explained to me that in UK food factories we don't just "not permit storage on top of lockers" we actually manufacture them with angled sloping tops.  Yes, we absolutely spoon feed our staff in the UK but to be honest, it's also not a daft idea; it's along the lines of the ERICPD stuff I'm always wittering on about.  If you make it so hard NOT to comply with a rule, while we have some ingenious operators, I've not found one yet able to break the law of gravity.

So with our sloping tops, the reason I was told and I think it's fair is that when you have tops covered in stuff, you can't clean them.  No cleaning and difficult to inspect means potential pest food and / or harbourage.

Do I believe it?  Probably 80% I do and 20% it just would look messy otherwise.  I think the lockers being off the floor to enable inspection and cleaning is probably more important.  But this is a rule that's SO established in UK food manufacturing, it's not one I struggle with compliance with to be honest so we crack on and continue with it.  Also messy = bad in the workplace just in terms of setting the tone for food manufacturing so yeah, I would defend that rule even if I'm not 100% bought into it being vital.

 

We are the 'Oldies' GMO, 35 years for me.

 

It prevents storage on top of the locker that would be unacceptable, present a H&H risk and more than likely a risk in terms of pest control.

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony


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