Additionally, facility managers should have procedures in place to properly clean and sanitize cleaning tools regularly since scouring pads, brushes, and mops can be sources of cross-contamination.
Importance of Cleaning and Disinfecting
To fully understand why a proper cleaning program is important, employees need to recognize the difference between cleaning and disinfecting and why each step is essential to ensure guests (and employees) stay safe and healthy in your facility.
To start, employees need to be able to identify the difference between cleaning—the removal of soil or dirt from a surface—and disinfecting—the killing or reduction of microorganisms that cause disease, odors, and spoilage—and understand that both steps of the process are necessary.
Most disinfectants do not effectively remove soil, if at all, but cleaning well allows disinfecting agents to work more effectively because the soil is removed and cannot protect the germs. Multipurpose products that clean and disinfect in a single step are the best value for operators by limiting inventory needs, reducing rework, and simplifying training.
The Value of Training
Employee education and training are the keys to success for any sanitation program. Incorrect cleaning methods can spread dirt and bacteria around instead of cleaning them, and not using cleaning products the way they’re intended can reduce or eliminate their efficacy, putting guests and staff in harm’s way. Training should be ongoing and provided to each new employee and each time there is a new piece of equipment or new cleaning supply introduced.
Properly training employees, at every level, can help eliminate these risks and give employees a clear understanding of why thorough cleaning is vital, and how to make sure their efforts meet the most rigorous of cleanliness standards. Proper training can also increase employee safety by ensuring that products are being used correctly and reducing rewash (exposure to chemicals) and miscalculation with mixing.
To achieve the highest levels of content retention, training programs should be developed with content that is highly visual, auditory, and tactile like videos that show and tell employees how to complete a task, including the opportunity to learn by doing. P&G Professional and Clemson University recently completed a study to determine the effect of a multi-phase, motivation-based educational intervention to improve the cleanliness of surfaces in a commercial kitchen. Validating that the trainees understood the content during the initial training sessions was one of the most important outcomes of the study, and this goal was achieved through use of multiple choice questions that were graded and documented in real time. Knowing they would be graded, trainees paid more attention to the content.
There are a variety of training tools that can be successful in reaching food service employees, including using Active Managerial Controls to help improve managers’ ability to train and sustain a cleaning program and individual training for food safety/compliant cleaning. On-demand tools that offer written procedures or training videos are also ideal. For example, P&G Professional’s online University site regularly monitors and records knowledge intake.
Self-Monitoring and Feedback
Implementation of routine and documented checks can help improve overall cleanliness and can be used for retraining, which is also an important step in ensuring information retention. The checks system should not be overwhelming to implement and should take no longer than 10 minutes of a manager’s time. Measures can primarily be sensory (visual, touch, and smell) with established checkpoints such as tables and chairs (not sticky and visually clean). Additionally, when issues are noted, the manger should retrain employees on proper procedures using demonstrations, as well as visual and auditory training materials and techniques. Your cleaning supplier can help develop a self-monitoring program that makes sense for your business.
An End-to-End Approach
Food safety requires an end-to-end cleaning and sanitation regimen that is continually monitored, and where constant feedback is provided to achieve the overall goals of the program. By evaluating your facility and equipment needs, with an eye toward safety and ease of cleaning, and selecting the most effective sanitizing and disinfecting products, you can have a dramatic impact on food safety, as well as productivity.