Monday, November 03, 2008

Why we need the 'when and why'

I have quite often ranted about the need for 'when and why' when delivering staff training, without which I maintain the 'what and how' don't amount to a heck of a lot.

So, let me give you an example.

In the UK, health and safety is a Big (and growing) Issue. Just about every industry has health and safety training. Quite often there are compliance issues involved in order for an organisation to be awarded some or other accreditation.

You can imagine that food preparation is 'right up there'.

So, let's say that in search of lunch, you betake yourself - as I have done countless times - to a little sandwich place that makes sandwiches to order, rather than some or other franchise with prepackaged goods on sale.

The lady who is going to make your sandwich is wearing a latex glove on her right hand. This is obviously for reasons of hygiene. You tell her you would like a coronation chicken sandwich on brown bread with cucumber slices. She proceeds to prepare your sandwich, touching the various components with both the gloved and un-gloved hand. Then she tells you that the sandwich and the banana you've selected will set you back £3.10. You hold out a £5 note, which she takes with her gloved hand. She then operates the till with both hands and passes you your change with her gloved hand, before moving on to the next customer. I ask you with tears in my eyes:


I once dared ask. The verbal response was, "It's for health and safety." The "Well duh!" written all over her face was not verbalised.

In the past 10 years, I have only encountered two sandwich shops that understand the purpose of the glove, and in both those places, the process went like this:

The lady making the sandwich uses only her gloved hand to come into contact with the food. The ungloved hand never touches it. That hand wields the knife and only touches the wax wrap when the sandwich has been duly covered by the gloved hand and the knife. She handles the money in her ungloved hand - the gloved hand never touches anything but the food. When necessary, she removes the glove to perform a task, washing her hands before replacing it.

In those two places, either the trainer explained the when and why of the matter, or the staff were able to figure it out. I suspect the training at other places went along the lines of "this is what you do..." without ever explaining why it is that you do it. Either the trainer (wrongly, it seems) assumed that the staff would figure that bit out for themselves... or perhaps the trainer didn't know either.

In both places where the hygienic process was followed, I thanked the staff for taking care to do so - I consider it important to commend good practice, rather than simply always highlighting bad practice.

Then there was the time that the man making my coffee opened the sachet with his teeth, but that's another story!


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Karyn!

Yes, it's gruesome. It gets even worse when you start analysing health and safety statistics of how, when and why people wash there hands after a visit to the convenience (I just used that term arbitrarily here - there are a whole raft of euphemisms that would do equally well!)

That fact is (swallow) people, it's assumed, know how, when and why they should wash their hands after such visits. But do they?

Just check out Minnesota Department of Health Statistics. Or not, if you want to enjoy that sandwich the next time.

Ka kite
from Middle-earth

The upsycho said...

@blogger I hear ya! I have used enough of the conveniences you mention to have observed that not everyone washes their hands afterwards.

I know of many people who keep hold of one the paper towels (or loo paper if there are no paper towels on offer) to open the door afterwards, so as not to undo all the good of washing their hands in the process of leaving the facility!

I don't know about where you are, but almost every public loo I've been to lately, is plastered with signs that say "Now wash your hands".

My parents taught me to wash my hands when I was a little girl - I didn't need the public service for this. It's sad that the nanny state has to step in where parents are abdicating their responsibilities!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious Karyn, I had read a post on what waiters do to the customers they dislike. Hope your work is interesting. I am enjoying free time at home.