AbleToTrain by Willing & Able

Health, hygiene and training for workers

This article explains how to ensure that workers are aware of food safety issues, understand how to mitigate such risks while on the job, and have the resources they need to accomplish their tasks properly.

Because workers are present in the growing and packing settings for fruits and vegetables, their health and hygiene habits, as well as other actions, have a direct impact on the safety of the product. Grower dedication and oversight are required for a good worker health, hygiene, and training program.

Reasons for implementing trainings

  • To effectively reduce hazards, implement training programs.

  • Use a language that your employees are familiar with.

  • Explain how and when to wash your hands properly when working on the farm.

  • Discuss how important it is to keep yourself clean and wear clean clothes to work.

  • Explain why employees should not work if they are sick.

  • Teach farm workers how to deal with accidents and diseases.

  • Explain which farm food safety practices and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) staff are responsible for, as well as why they are necessary.

  • Provide personnel with the necessary facilities and equipment to carry out your food safety plan.

  • Provide bathrooms and handwashing facilities that are clean, private, and well-stocked.

Employer’s responsibilities

Provide the required equipment, such as cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, for adopting food safety measures (PPE). Develop specific SOPs to guarantee that best practices are followed.

Ascertain that all employees are aware of where all equipment and supplies are situated, as well as when they are to be used.

Encourage employees to communicate so they can assist you in identifying and reducing risks.

Set a positive example for your children.

Create a communication mechanism that is shared during training. Recognize good behavior while discouraging bad behavior.

To effectively reduce hazards, implement training programs. Workers are the cornerstone of all food safety programs since they are in charge of putting the practices into action. To maximize learning opportunities, training should be conducted in the workers’ native tongue.

To encourage workers to actively participate in the farm food safety program, including farm specific food safety practices and SOPs in worker education programs. Posters, refresher training, and management setting a positive example should all be used to reinforce information over time. Workers with good training will be able to detect a risk when they see one and will be motivated to take action.

Because they may be directly touching the produce, the importance of keeping every worker’s hands clean throughout all stages of production cannot be overstated. All personnel, including family members, should be trained in good hygiene as well as other food safety standards that you employ on your farm.

To limit the danger of contamination, hand washing should be done after using the restroom, before starting or returning to work, and before and after eating or smoking. Before touching fruit, wash your hands. People who are ill or experiencing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea should avoid handling fruits and vegetables. Open or infected wounds, blisters, or bleeding cuts can further spread dangerous infections.

Workers should be educated on how to clean and bind cuts, as well as how to examine the area surrounding them for blood contamination of fresh produce or food contact surfaces. All contaminated produce should be thrown away, and all contaminated food contact surfaces should be cleansed and disinfected.

Workers can return to work or be allocated to activities that do not include handling fresh products with adequate bandaging (e.g., a bandage with a secondary covering such as a glove).

Provide personnel with the necessary facilities and equipment to carry out your food safety plan.

It is vital to provide workers with clean, accessible, and well-stocked restroom facilities, including toilets and hand-washing stations. Cleaning and maintenance should be scheduled on a regular basis and recorded in a log to encourage the use of the facilities.

Workers must be given the tools they need to execute their jobs properly. If your food safety strategy includes SOPs, ensure that workers have access to all of the equipment, tools, supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE) indicated in the SOPs.

Encourage employees to communicate

Workers are more likely to report hazards, such as injuries and illnesses, when there is good communication. During training, emphasize the necessity of communication. Workers must be taught how to communicate their concerns to their supervisors through a system. When staff discover food safety hazards, they should report them and learn how to mitigate them. Correct behaviors and actions should be rewarded, while bad habits should be discouraged.