Here are five best practices for implementing color-coded tools in the food processing industry, according to Remco/Vikan Hygiene and Safety Products Corp.
- Keep it simple. Limit the number of colors you use to around 3-5 in small or medium facilities. In larger food processing plants, limiting the number of colors each individual has to remember on a daily basis to the same small range can help keep everyone on the same page.
- Pick contrasting colors. Though it might be easier to remember that red is used on raw beef, it can also present a problem if someone drops a tool into product that’s being worked on. If this happens, being able to easily spot a tool can mean the difference between a pricey recall and a fixable mistake.
- Avoid complicated color assignments. Having customized tools—like a green broom with a blue handle to represent a certain zone and allergen contact—may seem like a good idea, but it will inevitably lead to confusion and chaos. Instant recognition is one of the largest benefits of color-coded tools, and taking that away by complicating it will reduce its effectiveness.
- Roll out the program all at once—This will help in avoiding confusion. Make all tool changes at one time, along with an education program and a widely announced start date for the new transition.
- Use signage for reinforcement. Don’t leave room for ambiguity with color-coding. Use signs, in however many languages are needed, to remind workers which color is assigned to which zone.
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