Return to Work for Food Handlers – Tuesday’s Discovery Workshop

September 15, 2015

Return to Work for Food Handlers

Let’s discuss return to work forms for the food handling industry – read our thoughts, then add your own into the comments section below.

Do you work in the catering or food handling industry? If so, you’ll know more than anybody how important it is for employees to be in good health while at work – and you’ll definitely be familiar with the good old Return To Work form!

Any decent employer, no matter what the industry, will try to protect their workforce by keeping employees with a contagious illness away from the rest of the staff. But when it comes to the food handling industry, the risk of contamination spreads even further than the workplace – it can put consumers of your products at risk, too.

What the Law Says

In the UK, we have something called The Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995.

Within these regulations, it states: “no person, known or suspected to be suffering from, or to be a carrier of, a disease likely to be transmitted through food or while afflicted, for example, with infected wounds, skin infections, sores or with diarrhoea, shall be permitted to work in any food or food handling area in any capacity in which there is any likelihood of directly or indirectly contaminating food with pathogenic micro-organisms”.

In other words, if you are suffering from an illness that could be transmitted to another person via the food you are handling, then you are required by law to take time off work (or to at least confine yourself to a bubble and do a bit of paperwork!).

What Food Handling Businesses Say

As a minimum, any employee in the food handling industry should complete a return to work questionnaire after taking time off sick. This ensures that any risk of passing on an infection is minimal.

Many food handling companies go one step further, however – did you know that some companies require a Return To Work questionnaire for employees who have been on holiday, too?

It’s a good way of checking that employees haven’t been in contact with any infectious illnesses during their time away, and it can really help to remind employees how important it is to maintain excellent levels of hygiene in the workplace.

Do you require employees to fill in a Return To Work form after a holiday? Or do you think it’s a step to far? Let us know in the comments below.

How to Request a Return To Work Form from Employees Who’ve Been on Holiday

Within People™, you can actually set your software to automatically request a Return To Work form from any employee who has been away.

To do this, simply head over to Settings, then visit Holidays and Absence. Scroll down a little, and put a tick in the ‘Holiday Return to Work’ box.

Return to Work for Food Handlers

Doing this means that whenever an employee returns from a holiday, the system will notify them that they need to complete a Return To Work form. Your employee will then simply visit their past holiday record, hit the RTW option, and answer the relevant questions.

Return to Work for Food Handlers

Once the form has been completed, their manager will be notified, and will be able to check the record and confirm that the employee is fit to resume duties.

It doesn’t take much effort at all – and it could seriously improve how seriously your employees take their hygiene at work.

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