The Company involved in this food safety audit conducted by Eagle Protect is an integrated poultry producer in New Zealand and a large domestic producer and exporter of poultry products. It processes, on average, 130,000 birds per day and employs approximately 500 culturally diverse workers, both male and female.
Because the plant's environment was inherently wet, the worker's PPE was required to have enhanced grip and warmth, and to be the correct fit, while maintaining dexterity. There were ongoing worker concerns regarding lack of selection and fit, with subsequently worker injury. The audit was to focus on the usage of all disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) for optimal worker efficiency and safety, and to enhance current food safety programs.
"...The worker's ppe was required to have enhanced grip and warmth, and to be the correct fit, while maintaining dexterity."
Overall the Company's food safety procedures were followed and well-understood by all workers. However, a number of risks were identified:
Concluding from observation, investigation and feedback from plant workers, the following recommendations were made:
- Glove Dispensing: Gloves were dispensed in both open bins and randomly positioned glove boxes throughout the facility. Due to the wet environment, the gloves in both the open bins and boxes can become contaminated.
Glove Selection: The quality and type of gloves used were affecting worker efficiency and potentially food safety. Comments included:
- “Poor fit of nitrile gloves causing cramping and looseness a hazard with knives and machinery”
- “Poor grip affected work duties”
- Clothing Selection: Current disposable smocks and sleeves were one-size fits all and often ill-fitting. Smocks became a tripping hazard, with both having the potential of catching in machines.
- Food Safety: Both worker training and in-house food safety audit practices in relation to gloves and protective clothing were absent. .
Eagle Diamond Grip Nitrile gloves, specifically designed for fish and poultry processing, are recommended for various reasons:
- The cuff length, color and size options allow for customization per department for better worker efficiency and food safety controls.
- The gloves are fully diamond textured for improved grip, especially in wet conditions, improving worker grip and subsequent safety.
- Bulk packaging of these gloves reduce cardboard and disposal costs.
- To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, a defined dispensing system of a heavy duty acrylic dispenser with a secured lid is recommended.
- Eagle Disposable Smock with Sleeves, available in multiple sizes, are recommended for fit, warmth and functionality, which will increase worker safety and efficiency.
- Due to the diversity in workforce a wider range of product sizes should be sourced to provide a better fit allowing increased dexterity, efficiency and safety.
- Provide ongoing in-house training for the improvement of food safety in relation of correct glove and clothing selection and use.
A wider range of product sizes should be sourced to provide a better fit allowing increased dexterity, efficiency and safety
The Company implemented all recommendations from the Eagle Protect Food Safety Audit, which resulted in the following:
- Increased efficiencies through proper fitting PPE, resulting in 15% more birds being processed daily.
- Decreased worker absences from hand and arm injury, saving the Company over $400,000 annually in worker turnover and health costs.
- Departmental identification through specific PPE coloring per area, to improve food safety standards
- Updated the Company's food safety program with defined PPE dispensing system, lowering risk of cross-contamination and potential negative outbreaks and protecting the brand reputation.
- Implemented routine annual food safety audit and training to maintain quality standards.
Decreased worker absences from hand and arm injury, saving the company over $400,000 annually in worker turnover and health costs
Suppliers in the disposable glove and clothing industry are historically driven by price and aren't known for their transparency. Eagle provides a better way of doing business.