Preventing Illness in the Workplace

The flu season is upon us. Illness in the workplace can cause major problems—missed deadlines, lost productivity, and therefore lost profit. When at work, we are in close proximity with our co-workers which encourages the spread of germs. Employers play an important role in preventing the spread of illness and ensuring employees stay healthy and productive. Here are a few tips to avoid an illness epidemic at your workplace:

  • Handwashing. It seems elementary, but proper handwashing is the easiest way to prevent the spread of germs. The best practice is to scrub hands under water for 20 seconds. Post signage and reminders for employees to regularly wash their hands.
  • Sanitizing. Hand sanitizer is a great alternative when hand washing isn’t available. Encourage employees to regularly utilize hand sanitizer, especially when leaving a work space. Provide sanitizers all throughout the workplace for easy accessibility and usage.
  • Supplies. Make sure the workplace is stocked with sanitizers, paper towels, tissues, soap, and wipes. Our desks are some of the dirtiest places in the workplace. Make sure employees are equipped with the necessary cleaning supplies to wipe down their desk, keyboard, phone, and work surface. Discourage sharing of office supplies and pens during flu season. 
  • Sick Day Policy. Make sure employees are aware of the company sick day policy. If a sick employee comes to work, the spread of germs can be rampant. Encourage employees to stay home if they are sick. Employees may be hesitant to stay home because they need to get work done. Providing the option for ill employees to work from home can help to prevent the hesitation to stay home.
  • Plan Ahead. Anticipate that sick days will happen. In order to plan ahead, cross-train employees to be able to cover for each other if someone is at home sick. Encourage employees who feel themselves getting sick to avoid close contact with others in break rooms or meetings.
  • Flu Shot. Offer on-site flu vaccinations or provide information on community flu shot locations to encourage employees to prevent the flu at the beginning of the season.

There are many free materials available to educate employees on the dangers of workplace illness. Preventing an outbreak is much easier than reacting to one. The CDC offers great materials to print and distribute throughout the workplace. Download here: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/freeresources/print/print-businesses.htm


Levels of Clean

“Clean” is seemingly a self-apparent word. We know it when we “see” it, right? Perhaps we can “feel” it after we finish the process of cleaning (ooh, it can be a verb too!)? This isn’t meant to get too metaphysical or anything, but if we take a second and really consider the meaning of the term, it can get problematic quickly.  

Outwardly clean-looking surfaces can easily harbor microscopic maleficence. For instance, what would happen if a food-contact surface that otherwise looked pristine had a contaminated surface as big as the head of a pin. How bad could it be? In the case of norovirus, the amount of viral particles that can fit in that tiny space “would be enough to infect more than 1,000 people”.

The ramifications of these microscopic realities are something Nelson-Jameson always has on the forefront of our minds. To create safe, quality food, we need to think on a microscopic scale…far beyond seeing and feeling what clean really is in food and beverage production facilities. This is why we feature everything from Environmental Testing Solutions to advocating for Color-Coded Programs to prevent cross-contamination concerns. 

Even your choice of cleaning tools used in the plant can make a difference. For example, we feature an array of products from Vikan’s “Ultra Safe Technology” (UST) line. Opposed to staple or resin set brushes, UST products feature a fully molded body that reduces risk of filament loss. The design of the brushes also ensures cleaning efficacy as well as preventing the risk of harborage in the cleaning tools themselves. Designed to clean efficiently as well as to be cleaned efficiently, UST products represent a way to further define exactly what “clean” is as well as what it can be. 

An array of industries critically concerned about “clean” including pharma, cannabis, and the food industry have found interest in UST technology. Especially popular with ready-to-eat food facilities, UST is also ideal for any of our customers wanting to further examine cleaning efficacy in their plants. To learn more about UST, check out our website, and/or reach out to a product specialist at sales@nelsonjameson.com or 800.826.8302.       


Reaching Your Goals in 2020

As we progress into the new year, have you set any goals? Perhaps you would like to increase safety measures in your plant. Maybe you want to implement a color-coding system. Or possibly, your 2020 objective is to enhance organization. Organizing, identifying, and labeling your storage and inventory areas will help your plant to operate more efficiently. 

Regardless of the goal, Nelson-Jameson is here to help you succeed in the new year. We offer a wealth of products and solutions that can help your facility to reach your objectives. Our Storeroom Solutions Guide features shelving units, storage bins, labeling systems, and more to help your plant with easier reordering, management, and fulfillment. Our food safety programs– Safety & PPE, Color-Coded, Metal Detectable, and Hand Hygienewill help to ensure that you continue to provide safe, quality food to all, in 2020 and for years to come

Take a closer look at our food safety programs or talk to one of our product specialists today to get started! 


When it Comes to Food Safety, You Can Never Have Too Much Class…

During our conversations with regulatory folks, a common theme has developed.   Overwhelmingly, regulators have stressed the importance of a “culture of food safety”.   This means that food safety isn’t relegated to only a few individuals in a plant. Instead, a culture of food safety is one where a business has inclusively brought in ALL stakeholders, from CEOs to part-time employees to learn, practice, and respect food safety standards.   Instead of viewing food safety as only rules that have to be followed or marks to simply check off on a sheet, food safety becomes a mindset and unifying goal across the plant and across the company.

We’ve also noticed that the most effective method to create this culture is through education and practice. The more employees learn about food safety, its importance to their customers’ safety, its importance to the financial well-being of the company, etc. the more people pay attention and invest in food safety concerns.   

With all that in mind, Nelson-Jameson aims to keep our customers informed through educational opportunities to help create that culture of food safety.   Such opportunities/workshops pay off directly not only in the immediate experience of the students attending them, but also to the companies sending them when that knowledge is brought back, shared, and applied in the facility.   Here are a few of the upcoming opportunities to learn more:

University of Wisconsin-River Falls will offer a “HAACP Workshop” that is open to “all food processors, suppliers, and regulators who wish to learn or review the basics of HACCP in a food facility” March 18-20th.   The workshop will cover “ food safety hazards, prerequisites, validation of HACCP plans, implementing HACCP, and regulation” via hands-on experiences. To find out more, click here for information on the program, fees, etc.   

On May 6th, the Center for Dairy Research will host a day-long “Food Safety Workshop (HACCP)” in Madison, WI.   Also, open to a spectrum of attendees, the class is a hands-on “introduction to HACCP in a plant setting” where students will learn about topics from environmental monitoring to GMPs.   Further information is available on the CDR website.  

Keep an eye out for further food safety opportunities here on our blog.   In the meantime, we are here as well to help provide you with the products and programs that can help you reach and maintain quality and food safety standards.   


Happy Holidays from Nelson-Jameson, Inc.

From our family to yours, Seasons Greetings! We wish you a year filled with happiness, peace, and success. 

The holidays are the perfect opportunity to express gratitude – Our entire organization values your friendship and thanks you for your partnership and loyalty.  We look forward to serving you in the upcoming year!