Sanitary Disposal: What Every Employer Should Know

Updated on December 15, 2023


Do you know the most dangerous place in a women’s washroom? If you guessed the sanitary disposal bins, you’re right! Even if emptied daily and cleaned once in a while, sanitary disposal bins are proven to pose the greatest health risk in a washroom.

Who’s at risk?

Not only are customers and patrons at risk for contracting illness or disease, but also the people responsible for maintaining them. Businesses and public facilities need a sanitary disposal solution that minimizes contact with blood, bacteria, and bodily fluids.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reported that 5.6 million employees are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens at their place of employment. Employees are at greater risk when using a washroom with a wall box as a sanitary disposal bin, especially cleaning staff who handle this waste daily. Wall boxes are not touch-free and pose an even greater risk to patrons and staff.

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Where’s the danger?

Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona Microbiology Department has studied washroom pathogens for over 20 years. Gerba reports the most bacterially infested place in any washroom is the sanitary disposal bins. He also discovered an invisible mist that is released and can land on the sanitary disposal bin each time a toilet is flushed. This mist can contain Hepatitis A, C. diff, staph, salmonella and E. coli among others.

Some of these microorganisms can survive on the sanitary disposal bins for months. Facility managers often have cleaning staff empty the sanitary disposal bins daily but rarely have them sanitized inside and out. One study found that 100% of the sanitary disposal bins tested positive for bacteria or mold. Would you want to touch this?

Most germs can enter the body through direct contact with broken skin. As it is impossible to know if an infected person has used a washroom, all sanitary disposal bins and waste must be treated as if they contain harmful pathogens.

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Legislation & Policy

Sanitary disposal is governed by the following legislation in Canada.

Workers Compensation Acts:

  • In Canada, employers must protect all workers at their workplace from exposure to infectious diseases.

Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations:

  • Section 9.17 states that every washroom and toilet stall designated for female use must have an accessible sanitary disposal bin with lid.
  • Section 9.30 (f) states that a sanitary condition must be maintained in every washroom and toilet stall, including the sanitary disposal bins.

Canada Water Act:

  • Section 9 describes the illegality of allowing sanitary waste to enter our water systems, which includes flushing sanitary waste down the toilet. This is often the means women resort to when there is no sanitary disposal bin in the toilet stall.
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The Answer

It’s best for everyone involved to let professionals handle this kind of waste. The best option for any business is to use a third-party sanitary disposal service. Facilities that utilize a sanitary disposal service reduce the risk of illness to their employees and patrons alike.

Citron Hygiene offers sanitary disposal services. Say goodbye to your current sanitary disposal systems and take care of the people using your washrooms!

Find out how we can elevate your washroom experience today.