Question: What are the consequences of our business not meeting Health and Safety or Food Hygiene law?
Answer: The consequence depends on the seriousness of the offence and whether enforcers have told you about it before. The minimum they can do is write a letter requiring you to sort the problem. They may serve an improvement notice. They can take you to court. The sentencing guidelines introduced in 2016 have increased levels of fines for all businesses and are based on turnover NOT profit..
Under Health & Safety Law you are guilty until you prove otherwise!
And individuals can be fined or sent to prison.
Question: How often do I have to calibrate food temperature probes and how do I do it properly?
Answer: This does depend on frequency of use. Many businesses will do this monthly (which I would suggest is a minimum) and many weekly. There is no legal requirement but it must be checked.
To do it in house you can check your probe at hot and cold temperatures if you use it for both. Put it in actively boiling water (not water boiled in a kettle or from an urn into a cup or jug) and the temperature should reach 100oC + or - 1oC. Then put it in crushed ice and a little cold water. The temperature should read 0oC + or-1oC.
If the temperatures don't read as they should; change the battery and repeat the calibration, send it to the manufacturer for calibration or replace it.
Question: Chefs in my kitchen are complaining of back ache and wrist pain. Is there anything I can do to reduce this?
Answer: Manual handling injuries and RSI (repetitive strain injuries) as well as carpel tunnel syndrome and tendonitis are injuries commonly seen in catering. The HSE has produced a fact sheet on lots of ways to prevent manual handling injuries to catering staff which can be downloaded here. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cais24.pdf
If you would like help and practical advice please contact us.
Question: What is Sous Vide and can I start using using it as a cooking process.
Answer: Sous vide is cooking at low temperature in a sealed pack. See our Sous Vide page or Call us and we can visit to take you through the process, carry out training and provide documentation to ensure you can prove the food cooked is safe to eat.
Question: I've been told by an EHO that the only way I can prove food cooked via Sous Vide is by microbiological testing, is this right?
Answer: No this isn't exactly correct. Some manufacturers may use microbiological testing when cooking as part of their HACCP process. However, most small caterers will not need to do this. if you understand the process and have the right checks and documentation in place you can demonstrate that food cooked via this process is safe to eat. We can train you and provide documentation templates.
We run a short information and training session to explain what Sous Vide is and how you can achieve safe food in your kitchen. We also provide the documentation for you to complete to demonstrate safe food production.
Question: I know RIDDOR has changed but is it right that i don't have to report any accidents unless someone is off work for 7 days or more (when it used to be 3)?
Answer: There are several types of reportable incident. Actually this applies to employees who are incapacitated for 7 consecutive days or more (this does not include the day of the injury but does include weekends or rest days). Incapacitation means they can't do their usual job NOT that they are off work completely. You have 15 days in which to do this and you report online via the Incident Contact Centre. You must still record over 3 day incapacitation but don't have to report it. You must also report 'specified injuries' irrespective of the time taken off work. Examples include; fractures (but not to fingers or toes), amputations, serious burns and loss of consciousness.
Question: Is the employer responsible if an employee is injured at work due to another employee fooling around?
Answer: It depends entirely on whether the employee was acting in the 'course of their employment' or the injury was just caused by 'an act of pure folly' i.e. they were acting in a purely private capacity and outside the scope of work. Two cases taken by injured employees against their employers have been thrown out (one on appeal).
If you have an accident or incident and need advice call 07786622741 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: What do i do if my employees don't speak great English and i'm not sure if they understand it properly if it's written.
Answer: If their job is safety critical you must provide information, training etc in a language they understand. This may mean getting an interpretor in or using a member of staff who is bi-lingual. Simple training and signs are better provided in picture format as these are universal. You must always test that training has been understood and this could by be means of a written or verbal test or by watching them perform an action safely or by getting them to explain how to do something.