Hygiene Zone Process Considerations to Ensure Hygienic Zoning Best Practices

by Meritech, on July 17,2020

The importance of hygiene has been thrust to the forefront of organizational processes and procedures in light of the recent pandemic. The immediate knowledge of the level of disruption and danger a pandemic poses, all businesses need to adopt more stringent hygiene practices in their hygiene zones. While COVID-19 has made hygiene more important, the threat of pathogens has always existed and illness from poor hygiene zone practices has always been a life or death matter. As such, it’s important for food processing leaders to build on the added hygiene practices they’ve implemented during this time and ensure processes further protect their consumers moving forward. With this in mind, here are some process considerations for your hygiene zone:

Download our hygiene zone eBook to learn more about hygienic zoning

Make More Space in the Hygiene Zone

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Look at the facility and the hygiene zone and create processes that allow for social distancing. It’s important to create the gap by blocking out center handwashing stations or air dryers to do so. Another way to create more space is to stagger shifts and create groups within each shift with assigned times to enter the hygiene zones - e.g. Shift 1 Group A goes through the zone from 7:00am - 7:15; Shift 1 Group B from 7:15am - 7:30, and so forth.

Allowing More Time for Hygienic Processes

Not only is it important to create more space in the hygiene zone, it is equally important to give production team members additional time to move through the area and perform each process correctly. It’s important that the quality of hygiene processes are not diminished because team members are feeling rushed through the handwashing, footwear sanitizing or other areas of the hygiene zone.

Monitor and Guide Team Members on Hygiene Zone Best Practices

HygieneZonePostersHygiene practices should always be monitored to ensure their effectiveness. Humans are prone to variability, and some employees will take short cuts, either intentionally or unintentionally during the 5 core steps. Human behavior is among the top causes of pathogen spread, so for the safety of your consumers and employees it’s key to overcome the variability of human behavior. One of the ways to start doing this is by using visual cues, like posters. Visual cues are tremendously helpful to inform visitors and remind team members of the proper procedures to follow in each area of the hygiene zone as well as the correct order of the 5 core hygiene zone steps.

Download These Hygiene Posters to Help Guide Team Members on Hygiene Zone Steps

Use Automation Where Possible

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Using automatic handwashing stations or automated footwear sanitizing methods, you can improve the effectiveness of hygiene processes by taking human behavior out of the equation entirely and ensure that employees always have clean hands and footwear prior to entering production areas.

 

Continually Coach and Retrain on Hygiene Zone Processes

HygieneZoneCoachingGuide_PreviewImageNot only is it important to create more space in the hygiene zone, it is equally important to give production team members additional time to move through the area and perform each process correctly. It’s important that the quality of hygiene processes are not diminished because team members are feeling rushed through the handwashing, footwear sanitizing or other areas of the hygiene zone.

Download this coaching guide with points to bring up during team huddles about hygiene zone best practices!

 

Diligently Maintain the Hygiene Zone

MaintenanceGuidePrevioewIt’s not only important to have processes in place for how team members navigate the hygiene zone but also how this area is maintained. Having the right PPE and hygiene solutions in stock is more important than ever so it’s key to assign someone for hygiene zone maintenance for each shift. This hygiene zone leader is responsible for the upkeep of the hygiene zone and ensures that it is clean and stocked at the:

  • Start of their shift
  • 1st break
  • Lunch
  • 2nd break

If something is out of stock, it is up to this leader to order the necessary supplies or alert the individual responsible for procuring them.

Download the hygiene zone maintenance checklist seen above
to help your hygiene zone leader check the hygiene zone

Create a Hygiene Culture

Having a hygiene zone leader consistently check and maintain the hygiene zone is critical, but it’s equally important to create a culture of hygiene excellence among your team. In this environment employees should be empowered to uphold themselves and others to hygiene best practices and be responsible for ensuring the cleanliness and supply availability in a hygiene zone. Overall, each individual should feel like they are a key part in upholding consumer safety and encouraged to follow proper procedures during each of the 5 hygiene zone steps, even when no one is watching.

Learn more about creating a hygiene culture at your facility in the Employee Hygiene Toolbox! 

Explore the Toolbox

Topics:Food Processing

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