Federal buildings that are accessible to the public, such as courthouses, libraries, post offices, town halls, and places of public transactions have a large demographic to serve. As all town residents will visit these places from time to time, managers need to ensure that every aspect of their facilities accommodate everyone.
The health departments in each state have their own rules regarding restrooms; however, the list below is a general summary of what is normally required. While these guidelines vary from state to state, the end result is the same, provide clean, sanitary bathrooms that serve all members of the community.
- Keep toilets and hand-washing facilities accessible to everyone.
- Restrooms and fixtures should be made from easily cleaned materials.
- Stalls must be constructed to meet specific measurements.
- Proper lighting, heating, ventilation, soap, and hot and cold water must always be available.
- Covered waste receptacles must be in all bathrooms and in the stalls of the women’s room.
The right products can help facilities managers achieve these standards without added stress or extra work from the cleaning staff. Automatic appliances, such as auto flush systems with inline sanitizer, hand soap dispensers, faucets, and hand dryers or paper towel dispensers all work together to streamline the restroom process, reduce cross-contamination, and minimize mess. Decreasing cross-contamination among the community is essential for the health of its residents. Viruses can live on a surface for several hours or sometimes days and are easy to spread. In publicly accessible buildings, especially during the times of the year when the flu is prevalent and people are voting, it is important to keep hand sanitizer available too.
Residents need to be protected from more than just germs, as bloodborne pathogens are also a threat when sharps are not disposed of properly. According to the CDC, approximately 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes and 26% of this population uses insulin injections as a part of their treatment. While diabetes is not the only medical condition that requires daily injections, it is one of the most common. Keeping wall-mounted sharps disposal units that are locked and puncture-resistant is the safest option. Once inside, they are completely isolated. The removal and disposal of the used container must be performed according to NIOSH/CDC and OSHA guidelines.
Odor, splatter, and mess caused by urinal use are prominent issues in men’s rooms. However, a few adjustments can make a great difference for both users and cleaning staff. Floor mats placed underneath urinals will neutralize odors, keep floors and their finish intact, and prevent extra costs in floor repairs caused by uric acid. Urinal screens help to reduce splatter and clogged drains by filtering out unwanted debris and giving individuals a visual to aim for. Having any type of target in the urinal can reduce splatter by up to 80%.
Recently, President Obama recently signed the BABIES Act, which mandates that “a table or other device suitable for changing the diaper of a child age 3 or under” must be provided in the men’s rooms of publicly accessible federal buildings. Over the last few years, fathers have complained about baby-changing tables not being available to them, as it makes caring for their children when they are away from home much more difficult. In addition to changing tables, child safety seats and diaper disposal units are also helpful to both mothers and fathers in the restroom.
Just like the mats and screens act as preventative measures for the men’s room, sanitary disposal units act the same way in the women’s room. These touch-free receptacles eliminate odor, neutralize waste, and keep used products out of pipes. Clearing a clogged pipe is costly, and two-thirds of clogs are caused by sanitary waste. There is no choice but to flush when disposal is not available or the only option is too full or unsanitary to touch. Other times, the opposite is a problem and a place to retrieve sanitary items from is needed. Female emergencies are often unexpected and therefore, women are unprepared. 50% of women say they feel anxious, frustrated, and embarrassed in these situations. Providing a sanitary vending machine is a great convenience and completely eliminates this problem for every woman in your building.
When your facilities must be accessible to the public, they need to be ready for anything. Products that can serve a variety of individuals and prevent future problems are a smart investment for any establishment.