Am I the only one who thinks about what’s for lunch before it’s actually lunch time? Lunch breaks usually give us time to recharge for whatever our task may be during the afternoon period and whether or not we purchase a meal or enjoy our home cooked food, one thing we would all like is a comfortable sanitary location to consume our food. Health should not just be a factor when deciding on our calorie intake at lunch but how healthy and safe is this said environment. At the University of the West Indies St. Augustine a large gathering of the student body assemble day after day at the food court, however we are faced with unpleasant conditions. While assessing the facilities four hazards were encountered
The first hazard presented itself before entering the food court. Here we can see water has been settling on the ground and too little resistance or grip between ones’ footwear and the floor can cause a slip. The water appears to be dripping from the air conditioning unit pictured to the left and this should be of great concern to maintenance. One might ask, “Why don’t you step aside?” but should that be the solution?
Within this food court we have four (4) establishments, Subway, KFC, Mario’s and Boomers. In order to provide their service we expect there to be open flames. In such an enclosed area provisions should be made in case of emergencies, but this is not the case. JFK food court did not consider an effective way for a stamped of persons to exit the building in the case of a fire. Doors to public places should pull to enter and push to exit. This is more effective, since in a moment of panic the door goes in the direction of the crowd as persons are more likely to push up against the door making it difficult to open a door that swings inwards. In addition all doors within areas of an assembly must be unlocked and accessible at any time to allow easy traffic flow in an emergency. As we are on the topic of easy traffic flow, the aisle space leading toward exit doors must be clear and maintained at all times yet there is always overcrowding in the JFK Food court. The doorways are always blocked by the extended lines to purchase KFC obstructing persons from entering and exiting the food court area.
As we continue this tour we are greeted by a regular visitor, we might even consider the food court unwanted mascot. Because the doors are continuously opened it is easy for pigeons to enter. There is no question that having them where food is being prepared and consumed is unsanitary. Dropping are usually found on the tables and floors and because there isn’t a constant clean up by food court attendants students resort to the ‘napkin and toilet paper way’ of cleaning or it is just not removed at all. Our little mascot poses a health risk as it brings with it diseases. Some of these biological hazards are:
- Cryptococcosis: – found in the intestinal tract of pigeons and caused by yeast. This fungus can accumulate in places such as the ac unit which circulated the air in the food court.
- Salmonellosis: – “dust from droppings can be sucked through ventilators and air conditioners, contaminating food and cooking surfaces in restaurants”. (Birds and their droppings can carry over 60 diseases).
Continuing on the topic of diseases we face even more at this location. It is impossible to exist in society without hearing whispers of Chikungunya, Dengue and most recently Zika. Our health Ministry has done its part by making us aware of how to prevent these diseases yet we are still seeing careless actions as pictured below. There are two reasons why the image is difficult to understand. Even though we are unable to tell how long the water has been left there it is obvious that it is in no condition to be used again which is an indication it should have been thrown out immediately. Would someone really continue to mop the floor with dirty water? Another reason is it’s a potential breathing ground for mosquitoes putting students at risk. The solution for this is simple and should be carried out immediately after mopping the floors.
Another issue highlighted by our team, was poor electrical setups. With the hustle and bustle of launching in and out of the food court, many students never had the time to look up. Wires hung from the ceiling, walls and close to the air conditioning unit which poses a great likelihood of a fire starting. A simple solution could be training of the maintenance crew to ensure effective wiring methods so that moisture and water are always kept out of contact. If this is just a matter of development taking place inside, then signs should be implemented, which is a very cost-effective solution.
Additionally there where spills on the floor creating serious fall hazards. Many times the employees are unaware of the situation, and when they are actually informed, it would be a long time before it is cleaned. The sweet scent has also attracted bees and flies which can be very disturbing if bothered. Mr. Fly, brings with him “over 100 pathogens (disease-causing organisms)” (Dr Chris n.d.).
Although there are several bins located at strategic points they overflow constantly making it a lovely home for Mr. Fly. Students choose to make worst decisions by leaving their remainders on the tables and exiting the food court. Management should be aware of their peak times and frequently dispose of bags that have reached their capacity or introduce additional bins to curb this problem. At KFC, the counter where one can dress their food and throw aware their garbage is usually filled with paper, spills of condiments and drinks. All these are tantalizing and encouraging to Mr. Fly.
The final issue we identified with the food court facilities was seating. The lower back region is the most frequently damaged in the industrialized world. Sitting removes weight from the feet and maintain a stable posture so muscles can relax. The lack of a backrest does not facilitate this. The seating areas in the food court place stress on the lower back muscles as well as the lower spin in itself fostering improper posture and lack of productivity. The Optimal angle to sit without stressing the muscles is 100-110-degrees.
As educated individuals, I don’t think we make an educated choice by using this facility. It has proven to be not only a safety hazard but also a health hazard. In a nutshell the food court is disease ridden and at any moment person or persons can become ill.
The issues highlighted in this blog, should be noted and taken into serious consideration.
“Ergonomics of Sitting.” Cornell University Ergrnomics. N.p.,13 June, 2015. Web. 3 Oct. 2016.
“Prevention of Slips, Trips and Falls.” Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. N.p., 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.
“Birds and Their Droppings Can Carry over 60 Diseases.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 01 Oct. 2016.
Chris, Dr. “House Fly Diseases, Types, Spread and Prevention.”Healthhypecom. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Oct. 2016.