Jan 13

The World of My Imagination reviewed our Nertoli Mid Back Swivel Chair (ALE NR4219).

Check out Nicole's blog and her thoughts about the chair!


May 11

Time after time, the TV will be full of stories about cases of food poisoning and illness that have been traced back to the source – a foodhandler. Good handwashing is vital to the protection of the health of the general public as well as the restaurant employees. One infected food handler who fails to wash his hands thoroughly can infect untold numbers of innocent people. The Federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than 76 million cases, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths occur annually from food borne illness. Infected restaurant employees were identified as a contributing factor in more than 65% of these cases of food born illness. These statistics come from a 2002-2003 study of outbreaks in US restaurants. Pathogens (disease causing germs) can be transmitted from an infected employee through food directly to the consumer. It is quite obvious that employee health and good personal hygiene is critical in protecting consumers and individual businesses. Food that is handled by improperly washed hands or hands that simply were not washed at all can be the cause of many different illnesses. It is essential that food handlers use good hand washing techniques to ensure that the food they serve is safe. If employees use the toilet and do not wash their hands afterward, they can be contaminated by tiny particles of fecal material, which may carry infectious organisms. Food service establishments can help prevent food borne illnesses that are associated with infected employees. All employees should be trained to:

  • Learn about food borne illness and gain an understanding of how it is spread from one infected person to another.
  • Know that they must not work with or handle food when they are ill.
  • Practice good hand washing techniques - always
  • Never touch ready-to-eat food with their bare hands.

What Is The Manager’s Responsibility? Managers and employees share the responsibility of learning about food borne illness and understanding their role in its prevention. Food handled by dirty hands can spread illnesses and the simple practice of good handwashing can prevent this. Effective hygiene practices must be followed by all employees to prevent the transmission of bacteria and viruses to food. Here are a few things a manager can do to help prevent food borne illness:

  • Managers can insure that there is an adequate number of soap dispensers in strategic spots and that they are operational and kept filled.
  • All employees must be trained in proper handwashing techniques.
  • Posters showing the importance of handwashing, as well as how to do it, should be placed in work areas and bathrooms.
  • There should be frequent brief training sessions on handwashing techniques.
  • An employee should be assigned the task of checking all soap dispensers to ensure that there is an adequate amount of soap available.
  • Employees would benefit from learning more about their role in disease prevention and some basics about food borne illnesses.

Managers can also check sources for soap dispensers to select the ones that are easy to use and maintain. One supplier, at, has a variety of user-friendly dispensers, which have different soap containing capacities. One dispenser holds 800 ml. and uses bag-in-box refills. Another uses 4 lb. and 4.5 lb. Cartridges while the Flat Top Gallon Dispenser can be attached to the wall and holds 1 gallon of soap. There are smaller models of 30 oz. Capacity that are ideal for restrooms. With the availability of products, there is no reason for any type of food service to be poorly equipped for handwashing!

May 11

As a general rule, bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food should be avoided by all food service employees. The potential for food contamination by food handlers has been realized on far too many occasions. Bacteria from infected employees can be transferred from the nose or mouth to the hands and then to the food. Cuts and sores may contain harmful toxins and bacteria, which can be transferred to food.

Example: a sandwich maker has a draining infection on her hand. Bacteria for the wound can contaminate the food. She should wear gloves when she is preparing the sandwich, adding the meat, lettuce and tomato, etc. to it. The sandwich should not be handled by other employees such as a cashier, server, or beverage server unless they wash their hands first and wear clean gloves.

Example: A roving supervisor or manager who fills in at various positions such as taking orders, accepting money, making sandwiches, or cooking must follow all handwashing requirements and avoid bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food. He must use tongs or other utensils to handle the food.

Example: A food handler who has the responsibility of making salads or toast, cutting fruit, filling bread baskets, cutting pies, cakes, and other desserts must avoid bare hand contact with these foods by using tongs, tissues or other utensils. He should wash his hands first.

Example: When a customers requests that the remains of a meal be placed in a ‘to go box’, the server must avoid all bare hand contact with the food. Use a utensil to place the food in the box.

Example: When food is being prepared, microorganisms from raw eggs or meat such as poultry or hamburger can get on the bare hands of the cook. If cooked food is touched by the bare hands of the food preparer, the microorganisms can be transferred, contaminating it.

Example: When there is a small operation, a single employee is responsible for taking orders, preparing the food, and serving it. He must avoid bare hand contact with the food by using utensils or gloves. He must wash his hands between each order.

Food servers should be specifically prohibited from touching ready-to-eat food with their bare hands. This is because servers have more contact with the customers, their dirty dishes, and soiled surfaces during their work. Sometimes it is not feasible for them to wash their hands after each activity, making their use of a utensil necessary when handling ready-to-eat food. Tongs, forks, scoops, tissues, or gloves become necessary for food servers.

No matter what the work situation, every employee must wash his hands thoroughly after every trip to the bathroom. Good handwashing technique must be followed. Most food borne illnesses can be prevented through proper food preparation, storage, strict cleanliness of the facility, and good handwashing by the employees.

Soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers must be available in strategic spots in the kitchen and all restrooms. They must be fully functional and contain adequate soap and towels. A full line of handwashing supplies for restaurants and food service facilities is available at

May 11

Using proper handwashing techniques is important – just as important as washing your hands as often as you should to avoid transmitting infections to others. Good hand washing is an important habit to teach children so they will automatically do it well as an adult and whenever it is necessary. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states, “It is well-documented that one of the most important measures for preventing the spread of pathogens is effective hand washing.”

So, in addition to washing your hands thoroughly using the proper technique, you need an effective soap and absorbent paper towels.

The Advantages of Using Paper Towels Over Electric Air Dryers
Single use paper towels are the best practice for hand drying in the fast paced food handling world. They are quick and effective. Experts have decided that the electric hot air hand dryers have no place in the food world. They are not effective or fast. Most users become impatient and walk away with wet hands. Studies have shown that wet hands transfer bacteria 500 times more readily than dry ones. If employees wipe their hands on their aprons or other soiled surfaces, dormant bacteria are reactivated, starting a new chain of contamination because germs love a warm, wet environment. Wet hands also contribute to accidents with electric appliances, accidental knife injuries, and increase the possibility of dropping hot food and glassware.

Selecting Paper Towels And Dispensers

  • Eliminate electric air dryers in all restrooms.
  • The hot air from the dryer just blows the germs around.
  • The slow drying time promotes the bad practices of drying hands on the apron or pants, or soiled surfaces.
  • Working with wet hands can endanger the employee and others.
  • Select the best paper towel for your situation.
  • Textured towels provide maximum absorbency.
  • Paper towels with a smooth surface absorb less water.
  • The paper towel should be strong when it is wet. Test to see if it falls apart when soaked.
  • Install hands-free towel dispensers.
  • This way, clean hands will touch just the paper towel.
  • Select a towel with a dispenser that is easy and fast to load and service.
  • Select a reliable supplier or distributor in your location that will be able to fill orders quickly.
  • Select a supplier that can supply both towels and hand washing soap.
  • Select a supplier who can service both the towel and soap dispensers.
  • Place the paper towel dispenser close to the hand washing sink, faucet and soap.

You can look at the wide selection of paper towel dispensers that are available at There are touchless paper towel dispensers, which automatically dispense a towel when a hand is placed below the sensor. There are also single sheet dispensers, single towel dispensers, as well as Lever Roll Towel Dispensers. You are sure to find the model that will be most appropriate for the needs of your facility.

May 11

Good Hand Washing is the single most effective way of preventing the spread of communicable disease. It’s easy to learn the correct way to wash your hands and doing it faithfully is the best way to protect yourself and your family from infectious diseases. Hand washing can help prevent many diseases and some of the most common are: Diseases which are spread through fecal-oral transmission: This means if the hands are not well washed after using the toilet for a bowel movement, that even the tiniest particle of fecal material can be missed and can spread disease. Some of the most common are:

  • Salmonella
  • Shigellosis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Giardiasis’
  • Amebiasis, also known as amoebic dysentery
  • Enterovirus
  • Campylobacteriosis

If you have ever been wracked with the severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that are symptoms of these diseases, you know just how very important it is to wash your hands after using the toilet. Plus, you have a right to expect others to follow this practice, too. Diseases which are spread through indirect contact with respiratory secretions. These germs can be transported by droplets from coughs and sneezes and are:

  • Influenza
  • The ‘flu’,
  • Streptococcus, also known as ‘strep’,
  • The common cold
  • RSV, the respiratory syncytial virus

If the hands are contaminated from coughing, blowing the nose, or sneezing, these respiratory discharges can be transmitted to others. Shaking hands, touching a door knob or some other item that was touched by someone whose hands were contaminated can spread the infection to you. The infected person should always wash his hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing his nose. Diseases can be spread when the hands are contaminated with saliva, urine, pus discharge or other body discharges. A few diseases that can be spread in this manner are:

  • Typhoid fever
  • Staphylococcus organisms, also known as ‘staph’
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Epstein-Barr virus

These germs can be transmitted directly from person to person or indirectly by touching inanimate objects like toys or books or through the contamination of food. Wash Your Hands The Right Way When you wash your hands correctly, rubbing your hands vigorously with soap, you remove the dirt and oily, soiled material from your skin. The soap lather suspends the dirt and germs and then they are washed away. Follow these simple steps:

  • Wet your hands thoroughly with warm water.
  • Add soap and rub your hands together, making a soapy lather. Do this for at least 20 seconds, away from the running water. Do not wash the lather off yet.
  • Be sure to wash the backs and front of your hands as well as between your fingers and around and under the nails.
  • Rinse your hands well under warm, running water. Do not let the water run down your arms to your elbows.
  • Dry your hands well with a clean towel. Turn off the water using a clean paper towel, if available, and throw it in the trash.

Soap dispensers keep the soap handy, whether your’re at work or home. They are visible, yet they can blend in with bathroom or kitchen décor. Soap is always available and you’re not hunting around for that slippery cake. The dispensers are more practical and less expensive for schools, restaurants and other settings where there are many people that One of the most important facts to remember about using soap dispensers is ‘the reminder factor’. When you see a soap dispenser, it reminds you to wash your hands. There is a wide selection of dispensers at as well as a variety of other sanit

May 11

The problem with the electric hot air hand dryers is simple – they are not effective! They don’t dry your hands well and they are slow.

A recent study, “Hand Washing Facts To Know: Paper Towels vs. Hot Air Dryers” showed that:

  • Using paper towels after hand washing helps remove bacteria from the hands.
  • A paper towel reduces the bacterial counts by an average of 58%.
  • Hot air dryers actually increase the bacterial count on the hands – up to a 438% increase in some types bacteria!
  • They blow out bacteria from inside the dryer.
  • They increase the circulation of bacteria within the restroom.
  • The electric dryer takes an average of 43 seconds to achieve 95% dryness.
  • A paper towel takes an average of 12 seconds to achieve 95% dryness.
  • Few people use the dryer long enough to ensure 55% to 65% dryness.
  • Slow drying time results in employees wiping their hands on their aprons, pants or other soiled surfaces.
  • This just increases the amount of bacteria on their hands.
  • Working with wet hands can contribute to accidents with electric appliances, accidental knife injuries, and increase the chances of dropping glassware or hot food.

An electric hand dryer can actually defeat the good work that was just done by a thorough hand washing!

Washing Your Hands

Using a simple procedure for washing your hands is not difficult and, when done correctly, it will remove a great number of bacteria from your skin.

Doing It Right

  1. Wet your hands with warm running water.
  2. Add soap and rub your hands together, making a soapy lather.
  3. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and do not wash off lather.
  4. Wash both the front and back of your hands and wash between your fingers and under your nails.
  5. Rinse your hands well under the warm running water.
  6. Dry your hands thoroughly with a paper towel.
  7. You can use the towel to cover the door handle or knob as you open the door.
  8. Dispose of the paper towel in the trash.

Selecting A Soap

  • Any kind of soap will do but some are better than others. Common bar soap can be used but it should be kept in a self-draining holder, which should be kept clean. Water should not puddle around the soap bar as some kinds of germs actually thrive in this environment.
  • Small liquid soap containers are easy to use and can be refilled with soap that you purchase in large jugs at the grocery or discount store.
  • Commercial grade soap dispensers can be mounted on the wall and come in various sizes. The soap is antibacterial and some dispensers have portion control to limit the waste.

A wide variety of soap dispensers are available at as well as paper towel dispensers for use at home or work.

May 11

Washing the hands thoroughly is still the most effective way to eliminate the spread of many of the most common food borne illnesses. It is an essential part of any food handler’s daily job. This includes commercial or retail restaurants, cafeterias, bakeries, delicatessens, meat and seafood markets, etc. These same safe food handling practices should be followed in your own kitchen, as well.

When Does the Law Require Hand Washing?

The following is a list of instances when food handlers are required by law to wash their hands. This is the accepted standard in the US and most western countries that require high quality in food sanitation and personal hygiene.

  • Hands should be washed immediately before beginning food preparation. This includes working with non-packaged food, clean equipment and utensils, and unwrapped single use food containers and utensils.
  • After touching any bare parts of the body, such as your face, hair or exposed parts of your arms that you have not washed.
  • Wash your hands each and every time after using the toilet.
  • Wash your hands after touching, caring for, or handling any animal that may be in a food service facility. This includes service animals, pets, or animals or fowl that may become a future meal.
  • Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or using a Kleenex or handkerchief.
  • Wash your hands after smoking or using tobacco.
  • Wash your hands after eating or drinking.
  • Often, cooks and food service employees are observed eating or drinking during food preparation. Eating is not allowed but drinking from an enclosed, spill-proof type container can be allowed. If the container is handled while working, the employee must prevent the contamination of his hands, any open or exposed food, or food contact surfaces.
  • Hands must be washed after any soiled equipment or utensils are handled. If float staff has to handle dishwashing chores, they must wash their hands after the completion of this task and before coming into contact with food or any aspect of food preparation.
  • Hands must be washed during food preparation, as often as necessary, to remove bacteria and to prevent cross-contamination between tasks.
  • Hands must be washed when switching between the handling of raw food and ready-to-eat food. This is a major source of cross-contamination when disease causing organisms are transferred from the raw product (usually chicken, meat or seafood) to a ready-to- eat product, like a salad or cooked food.
  • Wash hands before putting on gloves to work with food.
  • Hands must be washed before serving food or handling clean tableware and serving utensils. This means that anytime a server, waiter, or waitress is going to handle food or a utensil that is going directly to the customer, hands must be washed.
  • Hands should be washed after any activity that could contaminate the hands, such as handling money or picking up dirty dishes.

Health and safety codes try to address just about every activity that would require employees to wash their hands. Hand sanitizer can not be substituted for thorough hand washing with soap and water.

May 11

Do you believe that the toilet seat is the dirtiest spot in a public restroom? Does it have more bacteria that cause all those horrendous diseases crawling on it? Over the years, you’ve been told that the toilet seat is the spot that is just about the filthiest, nastiest place in a public restroom– just waiting to contaminate your innocent backside!

Well, if you believe the toilet seat is the root of all evil in that public restroom – you’re wrong! Experts now say that the two most contaminated, dirty areas are the floor and around the sanitary napkin disposal unit. The average restroom floor has about 2 million bacteria per square inch. That is about 200 times higher than a sanitary surface. Dr. Charles Gerba, co-author with Allison Janse of ‘The Germ Freak’s Guide To Outwitting Colds and Flu”, says “…You don’t want to walk around barefoot in a public toilet!” He defines a ‘sanitary surface’ as something clean enough to eat off of - with no more than 1,000 bacteria per square inch.

A high number of fecal bacteria are found on the restroom floors and experts advise women to avoid placing purses there whenever possible. They point out that an even worse habit is to go home and place the purse that sat on the floor in a restroom booth on the kitchen counter. Imagine whipping up a salad or making a sandwich on a counter that truly is crawling with restroom bacteria!

The area around the sanitary napkin disposal unit is also crawling with microorganisms. Medical research has shown that menstrual fluid can produce up to 160,000 bacteria on a sanitary napkin within four minutes. This astonishing growth, experts say, is due to the rich media of menstrual blood and secretions, where bacteria thrive. If a used sanitary pad is dropped on the floor near the disposal unit, the area can quickly become contaminated with these microorganisms.

Toxic shock syndrome has been related to the use of tampons and it created quite a stir a few years ago when an unprecedented number of women died from it. Although, it has dropped out of the media spotlight, TSS is not gone and cases are still being reported. The disease is believed to be caused by the Staphylococcus Aureus, which can produce a lethal toxin up to 20 times its normal level. These organisms are on discarded tampons and can contaminate the sanitary receptacle. carries several different types of sanitary disposal units. There is a Double Entry Swing Top Receptacle, which sits on the floor in the restroom booth. The Convertible Receptacle has a hinged lid, which remains open for disposal, then closes tightly, confining bacteria inside. The Wall-Mount Receptacle has a removable plastic liner for easy cleaning. It holds a waxed paper liner bag. Refill bags can be ordered from Their complete line of supplies can be viewed on line.

May 11

School has started and the reports of swine flu are already causing worry among parents and teachers. There are concerns about attending events like the State Fair, football games and other gatherings where there are large numbers of people. Here are some things that you can do to decrease your own fears and also to increase your chances of staying well.

1. Get your seasonal flu shot as soon as it is available.
o Seasonal flu can be serious for infants, seniors, and people with a weakened immune system. The CDC reports that 36,000 people per year die in the US and 200,000 are hospitalized due to the seasonal flu. Get your flu shot because it is your best protection.

2. Follow the basic CDC precautions
o Wash your hands frequently
o Keep several hand sanitizers like Purell available for family use.
o If you are ill or have flu-like symptoms, stay home and avoid others until you have no fever for at least 24 hours.
o Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
o Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
o Dispose of used tissues properly.
o Keep your hands away from your face, nose, and mouth.
o Teach children these precautions as well as good hand washing techniques.

3. Stay at least 6 feet away from people with a flu-like illness

4. Don’t count on a face mask to protect you.
o If you do wear a face mask, use it properly.
o A face mask should be worn once and then discarded.

5. Plan ahead in case your child or someone else in your family becomes ill.

6. Child care should be arranged ahead of time in case of a school closure.
o Check into your employer’s sick leave policy. Have any provisions been made in case of swine flu?

7. Stock up on soup, juices, tissue, hand sanitizers, soap, disinfectants.

8. Use a household disinfectant liberally.
o Clean kitchen counters, door knobs, appliance handles, toys, etc.

In Case Of Illness
1. Keep the sick person isolated and away from others.
2. Disinfect everything the ill person uses.
3. Dispose of contaminated tissues properly.
4. Wash bed linens in hot, soapy water.
5. Use good hand washing.
6. If you use a face mask, use it correctly.
7. Keep disinfectant hand sanitizers for the patient and family to use.

When To Seek Medical Attention
If you do become ill, don’t rush to the Emergency Room unless you have certain symptoms. Contact your physician first.

1. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
2. Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
3. Persistent, severe vomiting
4. Sudden dizziness
5. A persistent high temperature that lasts more than 3 days
6. If flu symptoms improve but then return with fever and congested cough.

1. Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
2. Bluish or gray skin color
3. Failure to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration
4. Severe or persistent vomiting
5. Increased lethargy
6. Increased irritability and resistance to being held
7. Improvement followed by return of flu symptoms with congestion or cough

Pregnant women are at a higher risk for complications as well as people with underlying health conditions and should seek medical attention promptly if they become ill.

Make sure you restrooms have the right equipment to combat Swine Flu - Automatic Paper Towel Dispensers and commercial soap dispensers

May 11

Ah, what would the working mom – or dad - do without daycare? Well, for one thing, they probably would not be battling all the germs Baby or Junior keeps bringing home! ‘Day care syndrome’ is not an official illness but families, caregivers, and doctors are all too familiar with the symptoms. There’s a ‘sharing of contagious germs’ followed by the on-again, off-again cycles of illness that just keep rotating through a household.

The Mayo Clinic has determined that the top five contagious diseases that your child can pick up while at daycare are:

  • Colds (upper respiratory infections)
  • Stomach flu (vomiting and/or diarrhea)
  • Ear infections (otitis media)
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Sore throat

Numerous studies have proven that just being in daycare increases the child’s chances of illness. Parents who must use these facilities recognize the truth of this statement. An Academy of Pediatrics Fact Sheet on “Controlling Illness in Child Care Programs” lists a number of infections that are spread more easily in daycare. The ailments include those named by the Mayo Clinic plus:

  • Skin diseases like Impetigo and Ringworm
  • Lice and scabies
  • Cold sores
  • Hepatitis A

The experts who prepared this paper recommended vaccination against Hepatitis A because of the repeated diaper changes and the real possibility of poor hand washing by the employees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 65% of women with children under the age of six are part of the work force. This number has grown from 44% in 1975. As more children enter day care, the amount of illness increases. Dr. Juan Celedon of the Harvard Medical School says, “There is little question that daycare before the age of two predisposes children to illnesses of the upper and lower respiratory tract. But we don’t yet know the long-term impact of illnesses in early childhood, and that’s a very important question. It’s possible that some of the infections may be harmful and some may be protective, but that is largely unknown.”

It is easy to see how easily germs pass from one child to another in daycare. The facility usually has a policy with guidelines for symptoms of illness when the child must be kept at home. However, by the time the symptoms appear, the child may have already passed his germs and subsequent illness on to others. Usually, during the incubation phase of an illness, before symptoms appear, the child is contagious.

Jody Heymann, a professor at Harvard, described in her book, The Widening Gap,
the ‘Tylenol practice’ in which parents dose an ill child with the medication to lower his temperature just before drop-off at daycare. The result is that caregivers are not aware that the child is ill for hours. An elevated temperature usually means the child is contagious and he must be excluded. This ‘Tylenol practice’ by parents, many who can not miss work, circumvents the rule. Plus, it results in the exposure of many other children to illness. The hard-pressed workers face an additional burden of caring for an ill child until he can be picked up by a parent, which often isn’t until the end of the day. Is it any wonder kids get sick going to day care?

When looking for a daycare make sure that they have the proper industrial supplies to make sure that your child is safe. Automatic soap dispensers and automatic paper towel dispensers are one way to help stop the spread of germs in Daycare.