Personal health

It is important that people handling or processing meat are fit and healthy. A number of outbreaks of food poisoning have been caused by people who are sick contaminating the meat product. You are required to tell management if you are suffering from diarrhoea or have infected wounds, sores or respiratory diseases.

If you cut yourself at work you must get the cut dressed immediately so the open wound does not contaminate the meat. The dressing put on the wound must be waterproof and brightly coloured.

Eating, drinking or smoking

Eating and smoking are restricted to designated areas – in some meatworks smoking is prohibited.

Personal habits

Employers expect you to present yourself for work fit to handle food.  There are several things which will improve your personal hygiene including:

  • brushing your teeth and gums daily
  • showering or taking a bath daily
  • washing your hair regularly
  • cleaning and trimming your fingernails
  • using a handkerchief when you sneeze or cough
  • changing your underwear daily
  • not picking your nose or biting your nails.

Cleaning your body – Your body is continually producing sweat to control its temperature.  Sweat is not just water. It has oils and odours in it as well. Areas that stay wet longer like armpits and crutches are ideal places for bacteria to grow.  Regular washing with soap will reduce the likelihood of bacteria multiplying on your body and reduce the risk of you contaminating the product.

Washing your hair – Oil and dead skin are caught and build up in your hair. This build up is an ideal place for bacteria to grow. Regularly washing your hair removes oil and skin.  You should keep your hair trimmed or controlled. This will reduce the chances of it contaminating product, or being a safety problem.

Keeping your fingernails cleaned and clipped – The area under your nails provides a warm moist place for bugs to grow. Regularly clipping and cleaning your nails with a brush reduces the chance for bugs to grow.

Cleaning your teeth – If you do not clean your teeth each day, you risk tooth decay and gum disease. Gum disease is painful and expensive to correct. Not only that, your teeth look yellow and your breath will usually smell (although not to you). You should visit the dentist regularly.

Wearing clean underwear – Wearing clean underwear everyday will stop the build-up of bacteria on these clothes and reduce the chances of disease.

Wearing clean clothes – You are issued with a uniform to protect you from the environment and protect the environment from you. It is up to you to keep your uniform clean. You should change and wash your clothes regularly.

Scratching – Some parts of your body are naturally unclean; your nose and mouth to name a few.  Do not put your hands near these areas as bugs will pass from them to your hands.