By Nancy Thatcher 2013-11-30 14:05:24
Keep Safety Front of Mind This month, School Nutrition is focusing on personal safety, and I plan to make time to read all of the print articles—and accompanying online pieces (at www.schoolnutrition.org/snmagazinebonuscontent)—very carefully. When we think “I already know all this stuff; I’ve been doing this for years!” it is very easy to become lazy about safety. That’s why taking time to review tips and tools related to safety in your school nutrition operation is always prudent, because it’s usually when we get lazy and think we know everything that we burn ourselves or slip and fall. In addition to being sure to read as much safety information as possible, it’s also essential to attend any safety-related trainings that your operation may provide. For example, in my operation, we have monthly Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) meetings. These are workshops that last 10 to 15 minutes and focus on both food personal safety issues. For instance, one month may be about how to properly wash fruits and vegetables, while another may detail how to use a re extinguisher and still another may cover how to keep from falling or how to prevent burns. Trainings like these ensure we keep safety in mind at all times. When I started working in school nutrition 26 years ago, I did not have access to such regular trainings. I burned myself constantly, because I was never shown how to properly place and remove items in ovens that were taller than I am. I literally learned the hard way! As a manager, I have seen how our SOP trainings can be opportunities to explain the value of things my team may not realize are connected to their safety—such as the importance of floor mats, which had been a source of strife and complaint beforehand. At our safety meetings, I make sure that I pay close attention, stay quiet while someone is speaking and never interrupt, but ask questions if I do not understand something. To help keep things safe in your kitchen, make sure you know and follow all HACCP rules and regulations. Also, get expert training in CPR and first aid. One last piece of advice: Stretch before you work! In an online article, “The Benefits of Stretching,” author Scott Ege explains how stretching can help reduce work-related injuries (http://tinyurl.com/stretchingbenefits). For more details about how—and when—to stretch, check out reputable websites like the Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com). Stay safe! Time to Apply! SNA Awards SNA awards season is underway; have you started thinking about your recent accomplishments? The Louise Sublette Award of Excellence in School Nutrition is given to a manager who uses a special project to help her or his school nutrition program grow. State, regional and national winners will be named. Although the deadline for the letter of intent to submit an application has passed, it’s not too early to start thinking about next year. For those who have submitted a letter of intent, don’t forget that final entries are due March 1, 2014. The Heart of the Program Award recognizes school nutrition employees who demonstrate customer service, interest in young people, cooperation, work attendance, creativity, participation in professional growth and a willingness to “go the extra mile.” Employee staff members, excluding managers, may be nominated. State, regional and national winners will be named. The entry is due March 1, 2014 to a member’s respective state president. For more information or to apply for the awards, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/awards. Legislative Action Conference March 2-5, 2014 It’s time once again to join SNA and your school nutrition colleagues in Washington, D.C., for SNA’s 42nd annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC). This is a terrific meeting for members at all job levels to attend! Participants will learn from Washington insiders about the issues that shape national policy related to school nutrition. Visit Capitol Hill to share your stories, expertise and passion with elected legislators. SNA needs your help in the pursuit of congressional support for important legislative priorities. Learn more about LAC by visiting www.schoolnutrition.org/lac or calling the SNA Service Center at (800) 877-8822. Nancy Thatcher, SNA School Nutrition Employee/Manager Representative
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