washing hands

The do’s and don’ts of hand washing stations

Hand washing has been a hot topic in 2020 (for obvious reasons). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has had hand washing facility requirements in place for decades. But there are updated recommendations when preparing workplaces, retail locations (especially pharmacies), and construction sites for workers in light of COVID-19. If you run a construction site, or you’re managing a location where people have to gather, here are some do’s and don’ts of hand washing stations that you may not have considered.

Do: Set up adequate hand washing stations

Pharmacies were among the first businesses that had to consider installing additional hand washing stations. People stop by to pick up prescriptions, and they often stand in waiting areas. Most often they’re sick or have a compromised immune system. There is also the fact pharmacy employees are coming into contact with people who may be sick.

Many retail locations, as well as construction sites, have installed standalone hand washing stations or hand sanitizing stations. Aim to provide a station for every 10-12 people who work in the area.

Do: Keep units in a climate-controlled area

When temperatures drop in winter, you don’t want hand washing stations freezing up. In order to function, they need to be somewhat climate controlled. If the worksite isn’t enclosed, or if there isn’t an enclosed area nearby to accommodate hand washing stations, consider placing it in a storage container with open doors on either end. Or create a temporary enclosure that protects the unit from wind, snow, and freezing temperatures.

Don’t: Place units far away from service entrances

For retail facilities or enclosed worksites, place hand washing stations near a docking area or fire exit. Service trucks will have to access the units, and service technicians need to easily get to the unit without having to remove it completely. Keeping units indoors near a docking area or major exit also makes things convenient for employees and guests who need to use the stations.

Don’t: Skip the station if you can’t find one

When the 2020 pandemic was at its height, the wait-list for hand washing stations was weeks or even months in most places. Hand wash station manufacturers went into overdrive to produce more units to meet demand. If you ever find it difficult to locate a hand wash station or hand sanitizer dispenser, don’t go without. Get creative and see if you can rig something up. Some of our clients reported converting small food truck trailers into hand washing stations. The University of New Mexico even has an example of how to create a small hand washing station for farm workers (although they could work at any outdoor location).

The old rule of thumb used to be one hand washing station for every 20 employees on a jobsite. To encourage more hand washing, it may be better to lower that ratio down to 10 or 12. No matter how many units you need for your location, we can help you get them scheduled and serviced. Give us a call if you need to add hand wash stations to your jobsite.