Why do staff not follow food safety procedures

Why do staff not follow food safety procedures

Why do staff not follow food safety procedures more so when there is a poor food safety culture within a company? We always say that should one remove the human element from the equation then all will be fine.

There are four main / common reasons why staff tend not to follow food safety procedures much like any other procedure in fact. These are: –

1. Preconception or as otherwise known “Optimistic / Cognitive Bias”

People may believe that something may happen but to others and not to them. At this stage they would be underestimating the likelihood of a negative event. This reasoning or cognitive bias can very well result in risky and poor decision making by staff who do not appreciate the overall impact of taking shortcuts or indeed making the wrong decision.

2. “I have been doing it this way since always” or “Illusion of control”

Staff may believe that nothing has previously gone wrong when rules were not followed. This is where the sub-conscious takes control. Staff may believe that as there was no negative impact experienced at least in the immediate when they did not follow rules, they therefore have influenced the outcome and controlled a situation.

3. Reasoned disagreement or “Cognitive dissonance”

This is when staff know they are doing something wrong such as not following procedures and then try to justify such action with what they might call ‘a good reason’ for their act.

4. Uncertain approach or “Attitudinal ambivalence”

This is when staff believe that other matters are higher on the level of importance. This will then lead to staff not appreciating the importance of following a particular procedure, leading to such procedure being lost.

What can management do to improve these situations?

1. Educate and train

2. Make procedures accessible to all staff

3. Monitor staff

4. Inspections and audits