What Should Be Included in Your Annual GFSI Audit Refresher Training

Whether you are getting certified to one of ASI’s many GMP and GFSI standards or simply trying to improve your facility’s best practices, one of the most common questions is, “what should I be training my employees?”

Although there is no one-size-fits-all training program for every facility, there are some basic annual safety training requirements every facility should use to improve best practices and the overall safety and quality of their products. First, let’s start with the bare minimum requirements of GFSI audits like SQF, as this should be the minimum facilities strive to educate their employees on. Later, we’ll examine the importance of safety refresher courses and compliance refresher training.

The following are the minimum requirements for training to get certified to GFSI certified audit:

  • HACCP Training
  • Security Training
  • cGMP and/or cGAP Training

Unless they can demonstrate competence to be an auditor, ALL employees responsible for internal audits shall be trained in internal auditing (like the “Principles of Internal Auditing Training”).

Compliance Refresher Training

Now that we have gotten the GFSI minimum requirements out of the way, let’s dive into some additional training topics you may want to include in your annual safety training requirements and compliance refresher training. All GFSI standards (like SQF, BRC, IFS, etc.) recommend the following training courses in addition to the required training for certification:

  • Foodborne Illness Training
  • Allergen Management (Note: this may be included in your cGMP training)
  • Food Defense (Note: this may be included in your security training)
  • Sanitation
  • First Aid / OSHA Training
  • Chemical Controls
  • Crisis Management
  • Complaint Management
  • Local Regulatory Requirements 
  • Root Cause Analysis and Corrective Actions
  • Fraud Prevention 
  • Waste Management
  • Job-Specific Training
  • Product Knowledge Training
  • Soft Skills Training

However, the best way to determine what should be included in your annual safety and compliance refresher training is to conduct a training needs analysis. A training needs analysis can be done either internally or externally and can be completed in the following three steps.

  1. Decide on skill sets – Determine the skill sets that your team members are required to have in order to do their jobs properly.
  2. Evaluate the skills of employees – Look at all your team members and evaluate their current skill levels in relation to the skills you laid out in step 1.
  3. Highlight the skill gaps – Identify the gaps (if any) between your skill sets from step 1 and the current level of skill sets of your team members to determine training needs.

By performing a training needs analysis, you can determine the areas where your employees need compliance refresher training. Additionally, a training needs analysis can have the following benefits:

  • Identify knowledge gaps before they become a problem
  • Helps you plan your training needs
  • Highlights training you may not have considered
  • Ensures your training is focusing on the right areas
  • Helps decide who should attend which training sessions
  • Helps prioritize training needs

To summarize, you should look at the annual safety training requirements which are mandatory for your certification and conduct a training needs analysis to determine any training gaps. By doing this, you will have a compliant and more robust training program that can improve employee retention, reduce complaints and other compliance issues, and create a positive safety culture.

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