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Adapting your food safety program for COVID-19

July 24th , 2020 by

New hygiene standards and protocols keep emerging in response to COVID-19, both as a result of government regulations and heightened customer expectations. For example, all food businesses in Australia must now complete a COVID-19 safety plan.

Hotel and supermarket chains have introduced intensive measures to boost cleanliness – and are keen to ensure their customers can visibly see them putting safety first. One such group, Ovolo, has even labelled its new cleanliness program ‘OC/DC’ which stands for ‘Obsessive Commitment to Deep Cleaning’!

So how can your business adapt to this new way of working, and make sure the right thing is done by the right person, at the right time?

Manage hygiene tasks with digital technology

With a MonikaPrime digital food safety and hygiene system, you can schedule and log the completion of essential hygiene tasks 24/7, giving you real-time visibility of what is being done (or not done), when, where and by whom.

These tasks can be completely customised to your operation, and are automatically recorded, enabling audits of when and who performed each task.

Your MonikaPrime system can be programmed to give audible as well as visual reminders when a hygiene task is due. By choosing to set an alarming and flashing ‘beacon’, staff can be in no doubt that the task is due and are more likely to complete it on time.

Following are some examples of COVID-19-related tasks that you can manage using MonikaPrime:

1. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment

You can schedule, verify and record regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces like ATMs, EFTPOS machines, handrails, door handles, taps, chairs, tables, switches, shopping trolleys or baskets, toilets, lifts, phones, keyboards, mice and screens.

With MonikaPrime equipment sensors, you can also ensure that your dishwashers are washing pots, cutlery and utensils at the required temperature for sanitisation (80 degrees celsius).

Tasks can also be scheduled for cleaning or replacing ventilation filters and stove hood filters, and replenishing handwashing and sanitising supplies in restrooms, at hand sanitising stations and elsewhere.

Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces

Schedule and verify that high-touch surfaces are cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals

2. Enacting physical distancing and personal hygiene

Sometimes physical measures or signage to encourage social distancing and handwashing just aren’t practical or adequate. This is where a system that schedules and audibly reminds staff to follow these rules can work so well.

Over time, the use of an area beacon to sound alerts for staff may actually help to engrain these habits over the long term, as staff begin to anticipate it.

Indeed, even though staff know to regularly wash their hands, there is no guarantee that this will be followed – especially in a busy kitchen where time quickly runs away. Likewise with physical distancing – staff are likely to forget and return to old habits, particularly when space is a premium.

Chef washing hands

Keep handwashing front of mind for staff with audible task reminders

3. Hygiene for delivery drivers

Via their MonikaPrime Smart PA device, delivery drivers can be reminded to clean and disinfect their vehicle including frequently touched surfaces such as the steering wheel, door handles, controls or buttons, seatbelt and keys, and any electronic device used to help deliver food or parcels.

4. Staff training and education

It is good practice to regularly communicate expectations to staff around hygiene practices and run periodic training. You can schedule and, once completed, log these activities in your MonikaPrime software.

For example, you might schedule regular pre-shift briefings to reinforce safety and hygiene policies and procedures. Or you may be required to run training in specific COVID-19 hygiene protocols, as is required by some Australian states. It is recommended that you maintain a training register to demonstrate compliance with these requirements.

Real-time feedback = prompt, preventative action

With MonikaPrime, you get real-time feedback on whether staff are keeping on top of hygiene tasks and can quickly see what’s getting missed or not being done to the required standard. Armed with this information, you can take prompt action to correct it.

You can set ‘verified’ tasks which means they need to be verified by a manager within an hour (for example) of the task being completed. If not verified or completed on time, the task will fail. Tasks can be scheduled for a set time of day, day of the week and so on, or for a specific time window e.g. 4 hours.

A Monika system also provides full remote access, so tasks can be scheduled by staff from home if necessary. To find out more or request a demonstration, contact the Monika team.

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