A food plant manager’s top priority is food safety and sanitation. There is nothing more expensive or dangerous to a plant than being shut down because of a sanitation violation. Violations can occur for both food and employee hazards, which means that a plant manager has to stay compliant with regulations from both OSHA and the FDA.
Keep Your Plant Compliant
Recent Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations require plant managers to develop strict sanitation plans in order to ensure that the food they produce meets all sanitation standards and that their employees' workspaces are safe (FDA 2017). To ensure that the food being produced in the plant is compliant with all regulations, and to prevent hazards to workers, these sanitation plans must have “monitoring, verification, validation, and corrective action measures in place” (Reeve 2014). Beyond the food safety and sanitation plan, employees must also be educated and trained in the plan’s implementation.
The 5S Lean Solutions Plan
When it comes to choosing the right sanitation plan for your plant, the 5S Lean Solutions Plan is the industry standard. This straightforward plan was originally developed in Japan, and aims to “reduce operational steps and improve the overall cleanliness of a work area, making it safer and more productive” (FE Mag). 5S stands for:
2. Set locations
3. Shine and sweep
Sort: The sorting step involves inventorying, removing redundant, broken or unused items, and organizing what remains. This is one of the most important steps in the 5S plan because it sets the stage for the success of the other steps. According to some studies, “plants that have adopted the program have reported that they eliminated the equivalent of four 20-ft. waste bins” (Stier 2017).
Set Locations: Using clear signage, appropriate shelving and storage, and even painting marks on the floor, this step involves creating an obvious and easy-to-access location for all equipment, ingredients, tools, and products.
Shine and Sweep: This step goes far beyond just cleaning your facility. Proper implementation includes establishing schedules, clearly documenting that cleaning has been done, and maintaining all equipment. In the documentation, it is important to always look for areas of improvement in cleaning and maintenance throughout the plant.
Standardizing: This step is the culmination of the first three steps of the 5S plan. With an appropriately sorted inventory of products and tools, established locations for everything in your plant, and a clear set of expectations for cleaning and documentation, most of a plant’s processes will have already been standardized. Some additional areas where standardization can take place are creating checklists to make the documentation process as simple and consistent as possible, and creating assessments to ensure that all your newly established standards are being met.
Sustain: Simply put, this step is the commitment to uphold the 4 other steps to keep your program going strong.
A 6th S has recently been added to the Lean Solutions Plan. It stands for Safety, and it represents what you, your team and your facility will have achieved once you fully implement the first 5 steps.
Implementing and Maintaining Your 5S Program
The key to any successful sanitation program is proper training and maintenance. The 5S Lean Solutions Plan is designed to be customized to your specific workplace and needs. Our safety experts can help design a custom 5S program that best serves your plant and keeps you both OSHA and FDA compliant. Download our 5S Lean Accuform Guidebook or contact a safety expert to get your plant’s 5S plan started!
Food Engineering Magazine (2017) Translating the 5S system to food safety. Retrieved from: https://www.foodengineeringmag.com/articles/96426-translating-the-5s-system-to-food-safety
Quality Assurance and Food Safety (2014) The Importance of Sanitation. Retrieved from: http://www.qualityassurancemag.com/article/aib0614-plant-sanitation-program/
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2017) Food Safety Plan Builder. Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm539791.htm