Training – Are we too focused on ticking a box?

Training in Food safety is in the news again with the scandal hitting Russell Hume the biggest catering meat wholesaler, who have been named and shamed on national TV for not keeping to their own Food Safety system and not auditing the same. How can a national company not notice that their paperwork systems and procedures where not being adhered to? It is shocking to me as I worked with Russell Hume in the early days of my time as a Quality Assurance Auditor with the Southend Health Care Trust and their food production unit and they were ground breaking in their processes, so what happened?

I certainly can’t have the answers for a multi national business like Russell Hume, but something has gone wrong. The answer could be found in how we train, to a lot of businesses training is seen as a necessary, but, time consuming need and I have found that some will go through the “needs box” – Level 2 Food Hygiene being the classic and following very quickly behind in our new world is Level 2 allergy Awareness courses. How many times do we send our staff on these training courses, get the certificates, and then never see if our staff are actually following the training advice?

How do we stop this from happening? Your own business food safety manual/procedures etc will clearly state the training need, because you have to, what it may not show is how that training experience has increased the skill of your staff, how they understand your systems and yes, how that understanding could save your business one day. Here is an excerpt from a recent case, where there is little doubt all the staff understood the Health and Safety procedure and policy, but, didn’t align the reality with the theory

 “A Burger King franchise in Ipswich has been ordered to pay almost £40,000 after hot frying oil splashed onto an employee scalding him. The manager allowed a 16-year-old employee to carry an open bucket of hot oil through the kitchen without wearing any protective clothing. He felt some of the oil splash onto him, causing him to drop the bucket and splash oil onto the legs, arms and face of an older colleague”.

 They were ordered to pay £26,700 in fines and costs of £12,500 for two counts of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.  ‘The officer that investigated it had advised the company of the controls that were needed to avoid future accidents with hot oil and had told them that these controls needed to be implemented in all branches, which they failed to do.’

 ‘The control measure identified as a result of that accident was not to fill up the bucket so much. It was claimed that the oil was emptied in the mornings when cool but the incident demonstrated that there were deviations from this.’

The company has since updated its risk-assessment after the accident.

Can you afford to ignore on job training, can you afford to just train your staff on the basics and then never assess them on what they actually do? Judging by the recent cases of food hygiene problems and the increasing risk from allergy awareness, can your business afford to “just tick the box”?

For more information about our training and/other programs that can help you keep on top of your training, contact us and we’ll be happy to help




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