The value of a person


My brother recently sent me a link to see a short video. The video was taken during Victor Küppers’ presentation organized by TEDx Andorra La Vella and the topic was "The Value of a Person". I was delighted with the content and I would like to summarize his presentation and use it as an introduction to the attitude towards food safety.

Victor explains that the value of a person can be expressed by a simple formula: V = (K + S) x A, where V is the value of a person, K is the knowledge, S are the skills and, A is the attitude. For anyone with train-the-trainer background, this sounds very familiar.

The objective of the presentation was to highlight the importance of the attitude of a person. Victor explained that the attitude is multiplying the sum of K and S! You make a difference in your environment because of your attitude. You influence people with your attitude. Knowledge and skills are not only necessary but crucial factors. However, we select our friends by their attitudes…we don’t ask our friends for their Curriculum Vitae’s to determine if they will become our friends or not.

So, how does the attitude of a person correlate with food safety? The life of the consumers of food products is in the hands of the companies manufacturing them.

We all need knowledgeable and skillful individuals to work processing or manufacturing the products we consume. The training of these individuals must be effective and there must be a way to measure how knowledgeable and skillful they are.

For the knowledge, a test or a meeting to discuss the content of the training is satisfactory as long as the trainer, who must be knowledgeable on the topic, evaluates the results. Now, tests do not assess the effectiveness of the skills of people, only the knowledge. A solid training program must include an evaluation of the skills required to safely work in a food processing environment.

The last component of Victor’s formula is attitude. How can we determine if a person working in food processing has the right attitude? This may not be easy; however, not impossible.

The Bell curve is mentioned often when anyone wants to assess probability of distribution. Any method used to determine the distribution of the value of a person in the food industry could be plotted in a Bell type curve. The results would be analyzed to determine potential risk from employees to the food manufacturing operations.

Generically, any Bell type curve has three zones. The center is the average, one of the sides is below average and the other side is above average. Employees’ value falling in the average, or above it, represents low risk to food manufacturing or processing operations. However, those employees that fall into the “below average” side of the curve represent a high risk, a significant hazard.

In a HACCP environment, what do we do whenever we have a significant hazard? We have a critical control point for which we identify a critical limit, continuously or frequently monitor the limit to make sure we remain in the acceptable range, we develop corrective actions, verification procedures, and record-keeping.

Senior management of any food facility is responsible to understand the hazards in the process and provide resources to acquire knowledgeable and qualified individuals that will be directing and controlling food processing or manufacturing operations, also known as: human resources. Senior management is also responsible for the effective implementation of the training program in any food facility.

Senior management is responsible to find a way to determine the value of all employees and implement corrective and preventive actions according to the risk the employees present.

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