Documentation Initiative Creates Standard Operating Procedures and Establishes Best Practice Safety Standards
While standard operating procedures (SOP) are important for manufacturing in all industries, nowhere are clear policies, procedures and meticulous documentation more vital than in food manufacturing. Maintaining the highest standards of quality and safety in the production of food is essential for the protection of consumers as well as employees.
Workforce Training has been engaged in a multi-year project with Ghirardelli Chocolate Company to establish and maintain best practices in plant operations and safety for management use and reference as well as to provide a framework for employee training. The project has focused on developing standard operating procedures and safety policies related to the operation of plant machinery in all areas of the company’s production line.
Working closely with the plant safety and security manager, Workforce Training kicked off the first phase of the project by creating training documentation for machinery that controls rates of production. The project consultant incorporated his unique combination of education and experience in mechanical engineering and organization development to develop both the technical processes of production and the people processes involved in performance improvement through training.
The next phase of the project focused on developing training documentation on a key piece of equipment that prepares raw materials for the refining process. This phase involved the development of standard operating procedures for equipment operation followed by lockout/tagout safety procedures for the cleaning and maintenance of the equipment. Lockout/tagout (LO/TO) is a step by step process to safely shut down machinery, then lock and tag the controls to prevent the accidental restarting of equipment while it is being cleaned and maintained.
The documentation of operating and safety procedures for this phase of the project was assembled into 3-ring binders located in holders near each unit for easy reference. Information was organized into instructions cross-referenced with pictures, overviews of each process and maps to illustrate lockout/tagout procedures.
Based on the successful results of the initial project phases, including improved processes and increased plant safety, Ghirardelli requested documentation of lockout/tagout procedures for all equipment throughout the plant. The resulting SOP documentation, complete with step-by-step procedures, charts and photos, was assembled and placed strategically throughout the plant for easy reference and on-the-job training.
Ghirardelli management, including its parent company, have been very pleased with the improvement in operations as well as the implementation of safety procedures that help protect employees and improve the company’s compliance with OSHA safety standards.