Do you leave your front door unlocked when leaving for work in the morning? Do your housemates let strangers walk around the house without batting an eye? Probably not.

Securing your residence is a given, but securing the workplace comes less naturally. Our practical experience at food companies confirms this.

During our intrusion tests, we see that companies often fall short on Food Defense. Some real-life examples:

  • Individuals under the influence accidentally access the company premises.
  • Job seekers walk around the company without signing in.
  • For years, an employee tinkered with machines unnoticed for the thrill of it, eventually replacing the entire production line.
  • Bottles of chemicals and cleaning products disappear unnoticed.
  • Former employees are let in through another employee in order to sabotage.
  • Unexplained consumer complaints due to a soured social climate.

Food Defense must be ingrained in the corporate culture. Just like at home, one must act like a good family man in the workplace. Not everyone should be equally involved in safety, but every employee should know the basics.

Our three tips:

The management's responsibility

The lack of a vibrant safety culture is neither the fault of the employee nor the quality manager. The foundations must be laid higher up. The food defense team must establish clear guidelines about expectations and desired behaviour. In addition, there should be no gray area in terms of procedures. 

For example, it does not work to provide a red hairnet for both visitors and contractors. One may never walk around unescorted, while the other may.

In addition, management itself must set a good example, e.g. when accompanying visitors.

Finally, annual food defense training and intrusion tests should be included in the training plan to keep the safety culture alive.

Keep it simple and visual

Keep safety top of mind with visual materials and tools. For example, hang posters in the restroom or set a reminder on the badge reader. The SCAN method is a handy mnemonic to improve safety culture:

  • See: Keep your eyes open to detect unescorted visitors and strange situations.
  • Challenge: Approach unaccompanied visitors.
  • Ask: Ask for the visitor's identity and contact person.
  • Notify: Verify the visitor's story with the specified contact person. Or escort them to your supervisor.

Do not ignore insider threat

Stay alert for signs of employee frustration and dissatisfaction, as they can lead to sabotage. Consider the example of unexplained consumer complaints. This turned out to be sabotage by in-house employees as a result of a soured social climate.

Keep your finger on the pulse and know what is going on in the workplace:

  • Is there a pleasant working atmosphere?
  • Do employees have a point of contact for complaints and frustrations?

How can we help you?

Your Food Defense plan is on point, but how do you get your employees to join you in your transformation?

During our digital 'Crime & Security' session on June 6, 2024, Wilfried Vermeiren (Samurai at Work) will share practical tips on developing an effective safety culture through a behavioral change.

We would like to invite you to this session and are also curious about your experiences.

Register today!

A Food Defense course at your company?
Find out here which courses and tests we can carry out to let food defense live in your company.

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