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NSF Portable Sinks: For Prevention of Bacterial, Viral and Foodborne Illnesses

NSF Portable SinksNSF portable sinks might not be the first thing that come to mind when you think of improving workplace health—but they should! A quick perusal of media headlines and statistics demonstrates the powerful role that hand washing plays in stemming the spread of communicable disease.

For example, the Bellingham Herald recently reported on an outbreak of E. coli at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in April. The fairground was the location of the Milk Makers Fest, an educational event attended by students, parents and teachers. Forty people who attended the event fell ill. Another 20 fell ill from contact with other attendees.

It’s suspected that the bacteria spread through contact with animals and indoor manure and then food consumption without sufficient hand washing. Not surprisingly, one of the key recommendations of the investigation is more rigorous hand washing and greater availability of hand washing facilities.

Flu statistics also back up these recommendations. According to the CDC, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year. And one of the best ways to prevent its spread is by washing your hands.

When it comes to prevention of foodborne illnesses, hand washing and cleaning of food preparation materials are both important. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 48 million people in the U.S. experience a foodborne illness every year and about 3,000 people die from them. Many foodborne illnesses are spread through improper food preparation and cleaning.

These are just some of the reasons why NSF sinks are so important. But what is a NSF sink exactly?

What’s Special About NSF Sinks?

NSF sinks are sinks that have been certified by the NSF. The NSF is the National Sanitation Foundation, a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to developing standards, product certifications and risk-management practices for public health and safety. The Foundation looks at food, water, indoor air quality and the environment when developing its standards.

Therefore, NSF sinks are designed to facilitate the removal of bacteria during draining and cleaning. For example, NSF certified stainless steel sinks have smooth welds, rounded interior bowl corners and a bottom that tapers toward the drain. All of these design points help ensure that water doesn’t pool and harbor bacteria.

NSF certification also means that the product has been tested for conformity to food equipment and safety standards, including product design, material review (i.e. non-toxic, corrosion resistant) and ease of cleaning.

It’s fine to use a non-NSF certified sink if you’re using it for non-food related activities, such as laundry (and if it’s not required by safety regulations). But anytime you’re using a sink as part of food preparation, it should be NSF certified.

What’s a Portable NSF Sink?

But all this begs the question: What do you do if your workplace doesn’t have plumbing for a NSF sink? Often, installing plumbing can be prohibitively expensive to install or simply not practical—especially if the sink location can change.

In this case, portable NSF sinks are a flexible and cost effective option.

How Do They Work?

NSF portable sinks operate as stand-alone units. A water source is stored below the sink and distributed through a faucet, just like a regular sink. The water is heated at the moment of distribution, so you have instant hot water!

These sinks come in a variety of sizes and with single or multiple basins. Many models provide storage space below and additional counter space above.

Facilities That Use NSF Portable Sinks

Because of their convenience and affordability (relative to running plumbing and drainage lines) NSF portable sinks are a popular choice for a wide variety of workplaces.

Childcare facilities

From snack time to art projects to diaper changes, keeping hands clean in a childcare environment is no easy task! But in daycares, preschools and schools, portable NSF sinks can play an important role in preventing the spread of communicable illnesses. They’re also an excellent choice for childcare facilities with baby changing stations.

Healthcare facilities

Healthcare workers are required to wash their hands before and after patient contact and after contact with blood, body fluids and contaminated surfaces. Most healthcare facilities also recommend hand washing after removal of disposable gloves. Consequently, portable sinks are a great choice for exam rooms, doctor’s offices, hospitals and nursing homes.

Food and beverage facilities

Anyone involved in food preparation should wash his/her hands before and after exposure to food and food preparation surfaces.

Portable sinks are commonly used in cafeterias, kitchens, food laboratories and during food and beverage demonstrations.

Outdoor facilities

Outdoor facilities used to present a real hand washing challenge. But with NSF portable sinks, you can easily set up as many hand washing stations as you need, anywhere you want. They work great for county fairs, outdoor classrooms, playgrounds, petting zoos, trade shows and outdoor food vendors.

NSF Portable Sinks at Select Safety Sales

At Select Safety Sales, we’re proud to carry NSF certified portable sinks manufactured by Ozark River. Ozark River is a family-owned business in Missouri that has been designing and manufacturing portable sinks for over 10 years. All of its sinks are NSF certified and feature instant hot water technology.

Not sure which NSF portable sink is right for your facility? Give our safety experts a call at (866) 864-3495 or email sales@selectsafetysales.com. Or ask us a question through online chat!

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