InSinkErator Safety

InSinkErator Safety

InSinkErator Questions

In November it will be 48 years since I finished high school and began my plumbing apprenticeship. Over the years, I have either asked myself every dumb question or have been asked some interesting questions by other people concerning plumbing.

But last week I got asked a question by Steve, a long-standing client that I cannot recollect ever being asked before. The question being, “What happens if I stick my hand into the kitchen sink InSinkErator waste disposal unit when it’s going?

My first response was to wonder why you would contemplate even doing such a thing. That was until Steve explained it was a question posed by his 5-year-old grandson.

Steve was genuinely worried it was something his grandson may try to attempt. Now the question did not seem so dumb at all. Steve was correct to be worried that his grandson would try to see what would happen if he put his hand down the InSinkErator unit when it was turned on because as we all know a 5-year old has little fear.

Steve was seriously contemplating getting us to remove the food waste disposal unit out of the sink permanently. This was despite him being concerned about the loss of conveniently and hygienically disposing of food scraps which could also increase the risk of a blocked sink.

An InSinkErator Has NO BLADES

Like most people, Steve was convinced that an InSinkErator waste disposal unit is a mass of sharp blades spinning around chopping and shredding everything that enters its chamber. Contrary to popular believe an InSinkErator sink waste disposal unit is not like a kitchen blender and it has NO BLADES at all.

Steve was much happier once I explained how an InSinkErator unit works. If his grandson put his hand into the unit when it was turned on then he would at the worse end up with a bruised and maybe cut hand. Although in all likelihood he would pull his hand out as soon as it came into contact with the spinning plate and or its impellers which have absolutely no cutting function.

Very simply instead of spinning blades chopping, cutting and breaking down the food scraps InSinkErator waste disposal works by:

  • Instead of blades, impellers (or lugs) mounted on a spinning plate use centrifugal force to continuously force food waste particles against a stationary grind ring
  • The grind ring breaks down the food scraps into very fine particles – virtually liquefying them
  • After they are ground, the running water flushes the particles through the grind ring and out of the disposer and into your waste-water pipe and into the sewer house drains

How Does An InSinkErator Work? 

If you want to see exactly how an InSinkErator waste disposal unit works have a look at this 90-second video below which gives you a graphic inside view of how a unit works.
After watching the above video Steve was happy to keep using his InSinkErator waste disposal unit because like most people who have an InSinkErator he knew it was the most convenient, environmentally friendly and hygienic method to dispose of food waste and scraps. Generally, waste disposal units create a safer and cleaner kitchen using minimal water and electricity.

Tips on Using An InSinkErator

If you already have an InSinkErator sink waste disposal unit installed here are a few tips to using it which assist in prolonging its working life:

  • InSinkErator waste disposal units can become stuck or seized, and this can be caused by non-food items such as spoons being placed or falling into the unit
  • overfilling the InSinkErator can cause the unit to jam
  • grease or fatty liquids should not be poured into the InSinkErator
  • InSinkErator units should never be run dry, always use with the cold water running whilst the unit is spinning plus always turn the cold water off after turning off the unit
  • cleaning your InSinkErator waste disposal unit once every week by inserting and grinding a handful of ice in your unit. This will remove any buildup that may have been left when grinding food materials, and often gets rid of any smell coming from your kitchen sink drain. If an odour persists after carrying out this cleaning try cutting up and grinding a lemon or grapefruit will give a fresh citrus smell
  • the InSinkErator unit should be equipped with a reset button either at the side of the unit (older models) or underneath the unit.  If your unit fails to start after pressing the reset, then it is probably more than just jammed disposal, and you should call Whywait Plumbing and have one of our plumbers solve the problem.

Poor Workplace Hygiene Is An Increasing Cost For Gold Coast Business

washing hands in cold water

33% of employees admitting they do not wash their hands every time they use workplace toilets is why Whywait Plumbing ensures toilet basins are correctly installed and maintained

Construction sites, workshops, factories, offices, restaurants in fact any Gold Coast workplace is a breeding grounds for germs with the majority of businesses not making workplace hygiene the priority it needs to be. Recent  research indicates poor workplace hygiene is costing business Australia wide up to $800 million in lost wages each year and the Gold Coast is not exempt with:

  • 33% of employees admitting they do not wash their hands every time they use workplace toilets
  • 5% of employees worry about other employees not washing their hands when using workplace toilets
  • 70% of employees genuinely believed poor workplace hygiene affected their overall job satisfaction.
  • 40% of employees fearing poor workplace hygiene will cause them to get sick
  • 50% of employees believe concerns about workplace hygiene affected their productivity
  • 75% of employees believe poor workplace hygiene indicates their employer “doesn’t care about them”
  • 55% of employees are dissatisfied with their workplace toilets
  • 55% of employees criticised their employer for not providing a clear vision and clarity of expectation for the expected level of hygiene that all employees should meet
  • 56% of employees are distracted from work due to concerns regarding the hygiene behaviour of other employees
  • 57% of employees believe their personal productivity is reduced because of time spent talking to other employees about their company’s hygiene standards
  • 72% of employees are reluctant to recommend a business with poor workplace hygiene
  • 54% of employees indicated they had to spent time cleaning up after other employees in workplace kitchen and toilet facilities

Most frightening with all of the issues surrounding workplace, health and safety, (W,H&S) is that the research survey showed up that the hygiene habits of Australian workers are appallingly low with one in six employees falling ill from poor workplace hygiene and the poor cleanliness of lunchrooms and staff toilets.  For employers the statistics are even more frightening with:

  • 4.8 employee sick days annually
  • productivity losses of $800 million in wages for employers

Whywait Plumbing found this workplace urinal with no flushing water and full of odour blocking tablets to mask the smells that were overpowering with employees only using the toilet as a last resort

The plumbing technicians at Whywait Plumbing are frequently shocked at the condition of workplace toilet facilities that they are asked to repair with many businesses failing to maintain their employee workplace toilet facilities operationally with the most common faults being:

  • toilets not flushing correct amounts of water leading to blockages
  • urinals not being maintained correctly
  • basin taps not working
  • hot water turned off or disconnected
  • cracked porcelain basins, toilets and urinals

All too frequently these workplace toilet facilities are also poorly maintained in regards to cleaning hygiene with the most common issues being:

  • no soap dispensors
  • no paper towel dispensors
  • broken toilet roll holders
  • cracked wall and floor tiles

All of the above issues create an ideal breeding ground for germs leading to cross contamination within the workplace. No matter which way you look at it poor workplace hygiene reflects poorly on any business.

Business owners and managers need to take the lead in the workplaces issued by outlining the expected hygiene standards for workplace kitchen and toilet facilities. It is well proven that a business with a good company culture that has a clear vision and clarity of expectation with regard to workplace hygiene ensures that the expected level of hygiene are complied with by employees.

By Gary Mays

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