There are multiple benefits to implementation of 5S methodology in the sanitation process and areas, including engagement of the sanitation team

The 5S methodology can be implemented for continuous improvement in the food plant sanitation process.

First, it will be helpful to start with a breakdown of the steps in 5S:

  1. Sort: Determine what is necessary in the workspace; Remove what is not needed in the specific area; Tag what will not be used, and discard; Relocate what can be used in another area.

Examples of what to look for:

  • Specific PPE that will be used regularly by sanitors (i.e., rain suits, boots, safety glasses/shields, helmets, etc.).
  • Specific tools/utensils that are used regularly by sanitation (i.e., squeegees, brooms, brushes, buckets, hoses, etc.).
  • Any PPE or tools/utensils not regularly used will be relocated, where they will be used or discarded.
  • Discard broken or damaged sanitation tools that cannot be repaired. If squeegees have broken blades, replace the blades or discard the squeegee. If hoses are damaged, then implement permanent repair (not temporary).

  1. Set in Order: Straighten, and organize what is left after sorting; Make what is regularly used accessible; Group similar items; Use visual designs and color-coding; Use containers that are labelled

Examples of what to look for:

  • Identify where shadow boards can be used for organizing tools and utensils.
  • Provide labelled containers for PPE (i.e., hairnets, gloves, earplugs).
  • Provide specific locations for safety data sheets, first aid kits, and spill containment.

3. Shine: Clean the work area; disassemble, sweep, and wash; Once clean, inspect; Identify potential problems

Examples of what to look for:

  • Cleaning equipment, such as rain suits and squeegees, must also be maintained in a clean condition.
  • Storage areas for tools, utensils, and sanitation chemicals must also be clean and free of spills and waste.
  1. Standardize: Teams will document the process; Standards will be simple to provide agility; Organize by area, role, or frequency; Provide easy-to-use checklists

Examples of what to look for:

  • Write up simple procedures for maintaining the sanitation PPE, tools/utensils, and storage areas in good condition.
  • Create a checklist for “shine” expectations.
  1. Sustain: Conduct audits to verify continued conformance; Lead through
    demonstration and set the example; Allow for follow-up training; Seek sanitor input
    for continuous improvement

Examples of what to look for:

  • Sanitation manager or supervisor will conduct periodic audits, using the standardized “shine” checklist.
  • Manager and supervisor will use the results of the audit to conduct follow-up training.
  • Seek input from the sanitors to adapt for continuous improvements.

Benefits of Sanitation 5S
As the process unfolds, there are multiple benefits to implementation of 5S methodology in the sanitation process and areas. Certainly, one of the greatest benefits is engagement of the sanitation team personnel and creating a sense of pride in the ownership of their work area(s). This can create a culture of quality and expectation within the sanitation team that can spread to other functions. In addition, there are a number of benefits to efficiency and efficacy:

  • Items needed for the sanitation process are accessible, which eliminates unnecessary motion and makes the process more efficient.
  • Every item has a specific site, and the team members know where to find each item, which is particularly beneficial to new team members.
  • Personnel who may be unfamiliar with the process are better able to visualize potential problems with the process.
  • Defined procedures make the process consistent and repeatable.
  • A better-defined process provides “agility” for changes that can result in further improvement.
  • The workspace is made safer for the sanitation personnel.

Implementation of the 5S process can be beneficial to the sanitation team and the sanitation process. Since the sanitation team’s efforts are so important to the production of safe, wholesome foods that meet consumer expectations, it is vital to help this team be successful.

Article by: Michael Cramer PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individual)