Studies show a recent increase in the number of risk assessments and enforcement orders by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. It is perhaps a sign of the times with the statutory body protecting the health of consumers. This is done by calling for better hygiene, safety and standards across the food industry. With this in mind, the demand for appropriate safe food handling training is also on the rise. An online delivery businesses in particular are encouraged to ”get up to speed”.
In this article, we take a closer look at food safety requirements. We also look at why businesses need to take a more proactive approach to food safety training.
The online delivery market in Ireland is projected to reach more than €1.5 billion in the next five years. While the pandemic exacerbated the need for online deliveries, this figure has been rising for quite some time. This puts a pressure on food businesses to significantly improve the way they do business.
But what is causing this exponential rise?
We live in an increasingly busy world. Most people are therefore drawn to anything that saves them time, money and energy. As a result, customers continue to demand more choice and convenience. An online delivery was simply the next step in this evolution. However, this trend has also required businesses to consistently improve their ordering systems. Yet food safety, quality and standards had to be maintained if not improved.
Unfortunately, as evidenced with the enforcement orders, not all businesses are in compliance with food safety regulations. Online delivery businesses might also be struggling to keep up with the increased demand and the general requirement for improved quality and service in the food industry.
Moral of the story: safe food handling training is needed to ensure online delivery businesses are meeting and exceeding the required food industry standards.
Food safety is not just something you do. It is rather a key ingredient that must be ingrained into the mindset of a food business. When you place a strong emphasis on food safety, you demonstrate a commitment to quality. This helps nurture a sense of trust with customers. Food safety is also a way to uphold standards over time and make sure the business is abiding by the law.
Simply put, food handlers and managers are required to undergo training to adhere to regulations. This is to ensure they do things the right way. The same risks which apply to these roles are just as present in the everyday operations of an online delivery business.
Parasites, viruses and bacteria are common causes of foodborne illness. Online delivery exposes food to pathogens and safety issues such as temperature abuse and cross-contamination. Online training in safe food handling helps staff learn how to store and handle food properly. This will prevent customers from falling ill as a result of the above!
Personal hygiene is an extremely important part of online delivery. This is, unfortunately, often ignored by businesses. Quite often, this is a rather awkward topic to approach with staff. However, the food safety training covers everything from cleaning and sanitisation to hand-washing and other aspects of personal hygiene.
The objective of online food safety training is to provide the best possible experience to customers in the food industry. Proper training can ensure staff is ready to deliver safer, faster and better service. This will in turn improve the customer experience.
However, food safety training is not only a means of improving a business. It is also the core of food safety management which helps you comply with the law.
The Food Safety Authority is tasked with ensuring food is properly produced, marketed and distributed, while adhering to certain legal requirements and practices. One such requirement is that food businesses in Ireland must employ a food management system which fully adheres to the principles of the HACCP.
In fact, the responsibility for training staff on food safety lies with the business. You must also keep all food safety training certificates on file. All certificates must be available and ready to be verified in the event of an inspection. In other words, you are expected to take a proactive approach to online food safety training and there are consequences if you fail to comply with these requirements – including criminal prosecution!
Now, we emphasise these laws in order to highlight the competence of the Food Safety Authority as opposed to scaring you into taking action. At the same time, you cannot simply ignore them and food safety training is something which every food business in Ireland needs to provide for their staff.
In case you might be asking yourself, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) refers to an internationally recognised tool which enables individuals to identify, analyse and address food-related hazards. For instance, Level 1 food safety training provides the education needed to begin working with food and a typical course equips the individual with skills and knowledge related to hygiene, cleaning, food contamination and many more food safety topics.
Most food agencies including the FSA in Ireland recognise HACCP and these principles help guide the manner in which food is handled and transported. Online food safety training should therefore abide by HACCP principles and provide sufficient education for learners to put these principles into practice.
While you get to choose in terms of the platform, it’s important to invest in food safety training courses which adhere to the principles of HACCP. These certifications ensure the business is compliant with FSA regulations and help establish practices which promote food safety and quality at every turn.
Are you an employer that requires food safety training for staff? Perhaps you need to undergo this training yourself? MyElearnSafety provides online food safety training courses (HACCP) to keep you and your staff up to speed!
To comply with the Fire Safety Regulations 1981-2003, every building must have a Fire Register in place to record all matters relating to fire safety within each building
The following documentation should be maintained in the fire register:
All occupants and employees are required to maintain a high standard of housekeeping. All materials and equipment should be maintained within their designated storage area / location, waste must be removed regularly, and dust should be removed from the vents of equipment to prevent overheating.
If you need assistance with Fire Safety Training We’d be glad to help.
Bullying and it’s affects on employees is a recognised workplace hazard
IN 2014, IRELAND was named the 7th worst country in Europe for workplace bullying, while in 2018, a study found that two in five people experienced bullying in their work environment.
The Health & Safety Authority have published a new code of practice (replacing the 2007 publication) entitled Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work
The purpose of the Code is to provide guidance for employers, employees and their representatives on good practice and procedures for identifying, preventing, addressing and resolving issues around workplace bullying.
Bullying activities involve actions and behavioral patterns, directly or indirectly, spoken and/or written and could include the use of cyber or digital means for the goal of bullying. Such bullying events, delivered through cyber means, may also be covered by the requirements of the 2005 Act. Behaviour which makes for a bullying pattern will likely include not just one but a range of the following behaviours
What is harassment at work?
The interchangeable use of the words harassment and bullying can lead to a misunderstanding of what each one relates to. They are legally distinct concepts and so a behaviour can be deemed either bullying or harassment, not both.
The effects of bullying on the business can include:
bullying is more likely to be a factor in workplaces that do not have an effective management system based on respect and awareness or sensitivity to the impact of behaviour on others,
What should employers do?
Working from home can have some challenges, but there are things you can do to minimise risks and improve your comfort and productivity.
Even though many people are working from home unexpectedly, we must make sure that your home workspace meets legal requirements
Organising your workspace
You should try to have your workspace set-up at home similar to your set-up at work, so that it’s comfortable and user-friendly.
Setting up your work desk correctly will help you to have good posture. This reduces musculoskeletal disorders, including upper limb disorders and repetitive strain injuries.
Improving your workspace
Even though many people are working from home unexpectedly because of the coronavirus outbreak, we must make sure that your workspace meets legal requirements
Position your screen correctly
Reduce eyestrain by positioning your screen at arm’s length from your face and at the correct height to allow a comfortable neck position. You should aim to have your eyes roughly level with the top of your screen.
To reduce eyestrain, you should avoid having a glare on your screen. It’s best to position your screen away from direct window light and close curtains when necessary.
Having awkward wrist, arm and shoulder positions may lead to discomfort and injury. Adjust the height of your keyboard so that your wrists are in line with your forearms.
Change your position from sitting to standing regularly to avoid awkward, static postures.
Give your eyes a break
To allow your eye muscles to rest, focus on an object 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
Adjust your chair so your feet are flat on the floor, without uncomfortable pressure on your thighs. You can use a foot rest. Your lower back should be fully supported by the lumbar support in your chair. Ideally, you should have an office chair, otherwise you could use a cushion for lumbar support.
Get up and move
Break up long spells of screen work with rest breaks or changes in activity (for at least 5 minutes every hour).
These stretches should be done slowly. If you feel any discomfort or pain, do not push beyond the intended stretch.
Improve your laptop set-up (laptop stand, keyboard and mouse)
Laptops are not intended for long term use as a workstation. If you are using it a lot at home then your workstation should meet the principles of workstation set-up, with a separate mouse, screen and keyboard.
Viewing angle, head and neck position
Use a laptop stand as it helps your head to stay up, straightening your neck, shoulders and back. If you do not have a laptop stand, try using books to improve your viewing angle.
Back position and support
You should use a purpose designed office chair where possible. If you’re using a kitchen chair then use a cushion to support a more upright posture.
Forearm and wrist position
Your hand, wrist and forearm should form a level line from your keyboard to your elbow. Your wrist should not be bent and should float above your keyboard.
Move your mouse through a combination of elbow and shoulder movements – your wrist should not be involved.
You can use cushions to elevate your seating position, helping to keep your forearm, wrist and hand level.
Leg and foot position
You should use a footrest to ensure your thighs remain almost parallel to the floor, with your hips slightly higher than your knees. Keep space between the back of your knees and the edge of the chair. If you do not have a footrest, you can use a plastic box.