What is a hygiene plan?
Spring brought a poisoned gift to the manager of a soft drink factory. With no one noting, a swarm of fruit flies infused the factory. Hours later, the plant manager had to stop production.
In desperation, a specialized cleaning team was called in. Upon arriving at the factory, the person responsible noted the difficulty he had in moving because of the number of pallets on the floor.
A team was immediately deployed to open passage. But as they cleared the way, the cause of the problem became apparent: the sugar from the soft drinks had drained from the containers to the ground and, over time, accumulated under the pallets. Fruit flies had found an excellent breeding ground.
Will McCoy, the head of cleaning at the company in question, reported this case to the US Food Quality & Safety magazine, without identifying names to preserve the manufacturer’s reputation. Such tales of terror are unfortunately frequent in the food industry, sometimes with serious consequences. Fruit flies, for example, can carry bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria. A hygiene plan can help companies steer clear of situations such as this.
What is a hygiene plan?
Common cleaning removes dirt, or fat, but it does not kill bacteria or other pathogens. To do so, it is necessary to resort to industrial hygiene – essentially a set of health and safety routines in the workplace. It involves the planning, recognition, assessment, prevention and control of health and environmental risk factors that may have negative impacts on the well-being and safety of employees or others in the workplace’s vicinity.
The first step towards a clean, safe and productive workplace is the creation of a hygiene plan, which should include several key information:
- Areas of the factory or warehouse to be sanitized;
- Surfaces, equipment, tools and utensils covered;
- Cleaning methods;
- A list of products or cleaning agents, with instructions on their safe use and storage;
- Frequency of washing and inspection;
- A hygiene schedule marking the date of the next wash;
- List of responsibles for washing and inspection.
An example of a sanitization plan for an equipment would look something like this:
Equipment: Vertical Mixer
- Before use if the mixer has not been used in the previous 2 hours
- Immediately after use when you finish the task
- Lock the machine (off) and remove the accessories and the tub. Wash in industrial dishwasher.
- Wash all surfaces with a clean cloth immersed in clean warm water and detergent.
- Clean all surfaces with a second clean cloth immersed in detergent (100 ppm chlorine or 28 mL for 4.5 L of water).
- Allow to air dry before reassembling and next use.
- Pastry cooks
Why is it so important to have a hygiene plan?
The absence of a hygiene plan can lead to the appearance of infestations in factories and food warehouses. By ensuring that all surfaces are cleaned regularly, staff can reduce the risk of transferring bacteria or other pathogens.
Failures in hygiene practices can also lead to audits and inspections, contaminated products and expensive recalls that hurt the brand’s financial results and reputation.
What are the most critical areas to include in the hygiene plan?
These are some of the most important areas to include in a hygiene plan:
- Drains. Floor drains can be a major problem because of the accumulation of food particles, water and other organic materials that attract insects. Regular inspection and hygiene treatments are essential;
- Machines. Machines can produce significant amounts of waste–water, oil and food waste. It is necessary to disassemble the key components of the machine to clean and inspect;
- Ceilings. Pipes and beams on the ceilings should be cleaned regularly to prevent the accumulation of dust that attracts insects;
- Piers. Loading and unloading docks are accumulation points for everything workers carry with them. Damaged boxes and spilled food products can attract pests;
- Rest rooms, cafeterias, changing rooms. They are the main critical points because of the abundance of food and places of refuge for insects. Staff bring food they keep in cupboards. Food waste may not be properly cleaned in the restrooms. Vending machines can pour food and liquids;
- Roof. The roofs are a source of sanitation problems. Accumulated water can cause mold, fungi and attract insects. Bird droppings can lead to outbreaks of salmonella;
- Garbage collection zones. The dustbins and recycling must be placed on a cement platform at least 30 meters away from the factory. They should be cleaned regularly as waste attracts flies, rodents and insects;
- Equipment. Equipment, including pallets, filters, work tools, pipes and shelves, should be washed regularly at high temperatures to eliminate fats and bacteria.
A comprehensive hygiene plan complements a good safety and hygiene program and food and contributes to the motivation of the collaborators.
Compliance with the hygiene plan is a shared responsibility
Dirt attracts insects. From the moment they settle in the premises, look for cracks, empty spaces in the equipment and other places difficult to clean, where dirt goes unnoticed.
It is essential to train the team on the equipments’ “critical points”, the washing methods and the routines instituted. Good hygiene practices should be part of the company’s culture, and we encourage managers to make it a priority. Compliance with the cleaning rules then becomes a responsibility of all.
Somengil, hygiene for the most demanding organizations
It is not possible to comply with a sanitization plan without appropriate washing equipment. That’s why we developed the MultiWasher, the industrial washing machine that washes everything. From pallets to trays, filters to plates, carts and shelves. This machine achieves a degree of hospital washing, eliminating bacteria by the combination of high temperatures and ecological detergents. The result is a thorough clean without harmful side effects on health and with a low consumption of water, detergent and energy. Contact our team or schedule a webinar.