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20 August 2021

How to Equip Your Workplace for HACCP

A workplace where an HACCP policy can make a big difference

The coronavirus pandemic has taught everyone about the importance of protecting individual and broader public health. Across the board, different industries have different regulations to adhere to in order to keep their employees safe, as well as to ensure that the products they create are approved for general sale and use. If you’re looking to equip your workplace with the highest possible standards, especially if you are in the food services sector, knowing more about how to equip your workplace with an HACCP strategy can make all the difference. This G.Fox guide will help specifically with making it easier to set the process in motion, as well as leading you to HACCP approved PPE products that will compliment long-term efficiency and compliance too. 


What is HACCP?

HACCP (or hazard analysis and critical control point) refers to a management system that addresses safety standards in the workplace by using a variety of different methods. It is most relevant in sectors needing to control physical, biological and chemical hazards in the process of producing its raw materials. It can also be useful for the procurement and handling of these materials too, and becomes especially crucial in the distribution phase. If the final product is not HACCP approved, it runs the risk of contaminating or harming the person who helped produce it, or the one who eventually buys the final product. 

100% guaranteed safety is not always possible, as contamination can happen at a variety of different phases. This is especially true when it comes to food production, where it will come into contact with multiple parties before it is eventually sold in a supermarket or at a restaurant. The idea is for businesses to implement an HACCP plan that points directly to the production process, to help get things as safe as possible while using all the resources available. There are seven key steps that can assist total compliance, which we will outline here while using the food industry as a base example. 


Step 1: Execute a Holistic Hazard Analysis

Implementing HACCP in the workplace requires an audit to start the process. Every potential hazard has to be detailed while taking a thorough look across all the moving parts of the specific supply chain. The idea is not only to look for potential hazards related to the final product. The safety of the workers involved in the supply chain is equally important to address. Break it down into the different chemical, biological or physical hazards facing both the customer and the workers involved, which will help to set the process in motion and give you enough facts to work with in order to take the next steps in the process.


Step 2: Introduce CCP’s

Critical control points should then be introduced into your HACCP strategy. These are essential to begin to control the potential occurrence of the risk that were detailed in step one. It might seem overwhelming at first, but some CCP’s will cover a group of different risks. Be meticulous about how these are set out, and ensure they are well documented in the case of a breach or future problem. Consider all the equipment you have, the layout, the ingredients required to get to the point of sale. In food services, this step allows you to consider and detail all potential allergens, for instance.


Step 3: Refine CCP’s with Critical Limits

The next step in the process involves setting critical limits on each of the CCP’s that have been set out. For specific CCP’s, there may need to be a maximum or minimum amount that can safely be applied in different circumstances. The main idea is to set parameters or boundaries of the different levels of potential hazards that might contaminate a product. This has to happen across all the stages of production, and should factor in different technologies available that might assist with keeping the levels of various hazard points within the right levels as per independent industry standards.  


Raw meet that may be contaminated without an HACCP process during the production stage


Step 4: Outline Monitoring Expectations 

Once all CCP’s and limits have been worked into the broader HACCP strategy for the company, monitoring is the next important part of the process. Ensuring that hazards are contained at all times involves regular check-ins and monitoring, in order to spot potential flaws in the system which can prevent greater loss or contamination. Each CCP will not be monitored in the same way, as some might require different levels of training and certification in order to do so properly. The common thread with monitoring is that it should always be data driven, with real time updates so the team isn’t working with outdated information. 


Step 5: Detail Clear Steps For Resolving Breaches

As soon as a breach is spotted in the monitoring process, there is no time to waste. This shouldn’t be the first time that the solution to the hazard should be thought of. While putting together the HACCP process, clear steps for resolving potential problems should be outlined. These should be easy for all members of the team to understand and implement. There may not be a lot of steps for someone who has come into contact with a contaminated material to follow, but the likely solution for many CCP breaches is to send the employee home, or take corrective action that will help to resolve the problem in the shortest space possible. 


Step 6: Initiate Company Specific Procedures

Every business is different, and each will have different operational circumstances to deal with. No two businesses will be able to follow exactly the same procedures as part of their HACCP process, especially if they are located in different cities with different climates, external conditions and more. If the business operates in multiple locations, it needs specific procedures for each location. These unique procedures should account for the final step to take in order to contain and resolve a breach thoroughly. It should point towards achieving the end product with a quick turnaround time, and should do its best to avoid stalling production for long periods, which can lead to sunk costs and widespread losses.


Step 7: Documenting Everything

Now that the process has been outlined, and the business is HACCP equipped, the work isn’t over just quite yet. Long term compliance requires thorough documentation, including up to date records that are regularly checked by a series of employees at different levels in the organogram. This helps with maintaining transparency, and can be a useful resource in the event of a large-scale problem where it might be difficult to pinpoint its origins. From storage logs to employee qualifications and temperature charts, if you’re wondering about whether to document something, do it. Hiring someone in for the job is an option, but keep in mind that they may need specific training in the field in order to do it specifically. Once this is in place, the business is more likely to thrive in the wake of the variety of natural challenges that pop up in daily operations.

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