Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dish Pit Update: Please Advise Regarding Coworker Who Does Not Wash Hands After Touching Trash

On Saturday, I died a little inside. My fellow dishwasher was helping me to take out the trash. When we came in, he touched clean dishes, without washing. He did not even rinse his hands. He did not even wipe them. I usually try to correct him regarding hand washing, but he is a bit stubborn. Also, I could tell, by the speed in which he did it, that it was a habit. I have a sneaking feeling that he never even rinses or wipes his hands, when nobody looks.

I have all ready discussed this with a few people and got some diverse opinions. I think that I know what I will do about him, but I want to get more advice from all of you first. The rest of my post gives you more details.

For points of reference, I want to point out that I live and work in Surrey, BC, Canada, and we are governed by the Fraser Health Authority.

Normally, everybody should just try to speak to the coworker and then the bosses, but our kitchen has a significant corporate culture of not using soap to wash hands, even for the filthiest of jobs. People often discourage me from washing my hands. A lot of them could go for an entire shift, and never wash hands, while I probably do it about 28-35 times per shift: on average, every hour, I switch from loading the dish machine to emptying the dish trays about 4-6 times, which means that I wash hands with soap about 4-6 times. However that is a digression. You can see the contrast between me and my coworkers.

I am quite confident, that my bosses will support me on this, so the situation seems so simple. However, we are talking about bosses, who make no effort to confirm that people are doing things properly. 1 of my coworkers has been here for several months. He was trained to put 2 cutting boards in a dish tray, and then put them into the machine. Not a single person has corrected him on this. I, the second newest guy, brought it to his attention, and he was 1 of the people, who trained me!

That coworker, who touched the garbage, and did not wash his hands, was trained by me, when I was only about 3-4 days in. It is unbelievable, that the assistant manager of the kitchen placed him in my hands, without even testing me. This coworker is REALLY stubborn. He also put 2 cutting boards in 1 tray. Even when I tried to explain to him the importance of putting each cutting board in a separate tray, he just dismissed me and spoke down on me, without even thinking about it. If I had not spoken to the bosses about it, then he would have continued on.

Those boards could have been used for raw chicken, and then salads, and nobody would have known any different, except for me. I find it baffling that I am the only person to have a broad perspective of what is going on in the kitchen.

You would think that it could not get any weirder, but it does.

About a month ago, we used to have a supervisor [i.e.: first cook], who told me that I had to have my ball cap [which was part of my uniform] face forward. I brought this to the attention of my coworkers, who have helped me in the dish pit. They all laughed, because they never had to wear a cap ever. In other words, all of them never wore anything from their beginnings.

So, I am all cool with that, and then I showed up for a shift without a ball cap. The assistant manager notices this almost right away. He asks me where my cap is. We get into a discussion, and he wonders why I would think that I could avoid wearing the cap. After all, "everybody else is wearing it". I look at him in disbelief, but I do not reveal what the others said to me. He then looks at my coworker, and asks him where his cap is. After listening to the fake excuse, he orders my coworker to wear it. Of course, the next day, my coworker shows up without the cap. I am happy for my coworker, and this secret, which is hidden in plain site, will be safe with me. I am just baffled by how my boss never noticed. After all, the ball cap is orange, and all bosses have interacted with all of us. How could anybody not notice it?

That leads me to ask, if my bosses cannot notice that all of my coworkers never wore hats in the dish pit, then how are they going to keep track of food safety; especially when food safety was NEVER taught?

Another weird story is that a coworker was running water in an empty sink. I turned it off, and he turned it on again. I do not know who it was. We are talking about roughly 5 minutes of hot water running in an empty sink. So, while I was busy working with my hands, I asked the assistant manager why the water was running. He gave his explanation of what somebody might be intending to do, and then added, "Eugene? Can you do me a favour?", "Just focus on washing dishes.". I was concerned about the company and the environment, and I was busy working, but he was still unhappy with things.

Another story is when the assistant manager placed a plate on the dirty dish table. He should have seen the pile that was all ready there, but I had to point it out to him, and then he apologized.

An important factor here is that there are no written rules, so there is no point of reference.

Another important factor is that I do not have a great work history, so I really need to make it past that first 3 month probation.

I want to add that I get a bad vibe about this. It is almost as if somebody is going to die or get sick in a life altering way. I feel a personal responsibility to report this, but I also feel that I need to keep this job. My coworker seems like a loose canon. Even though my bosses might try to correct him, I think that they might dislike me, because I might look like a trouble maker. I honestly think that they subconsciously do not want to know.

What do you advise? Feel free to comment here, on Facebook, Google Plus, or on reddit.

The end. Thank you for reading!

1 comment:

  1. hi this is a bit late but if possible you should leave and go somewhere else - if the health department comes down on that place you will get caught up in it.
    the situation is actually the will of the management (willful negligence) and you only put yourself under unnecessary pressure by staying - i have done a similar thing recently