Your construction crew is hard at work to make your vision a reality — but as the workers complete your project, you will also need to erect a temporary infrastructure to keep them comfortable, safe, healthy, and productive.
Hand wash stations are one of the most essential components of any setup on a construction site, yet they are often no more than an afterthought. What should you know about hand wash stations at construction sites to ensure that the workers can carry their jobs out smoothly, while you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are following regulations?
Why Are Handwash Stations So Important on Construction Sites?
The importance of handwashing has been drilled into every single one of us in recent times, but the legal requirement to provide adequate hand wash stations on construction sites is far from new. Indeed, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has long required that construction crews be offered ample opportunity to wash their hands properly — with safe running water and soap. In addition, construction crews should be able to dry their hands with either single-use paper towels or with warm-air hand dryers.
Hand washing matters on construction sites for some of the same reasons it is so crucial in every other setting, but also for some additional reasons. It goes without saying that:
- Construction workers need to be able to wash their hands after using a portable toilet.
- Construction workers need to be given access to hand wash stations before they eat, drink, or smoke.
- Construction workers need to be able to wash their hands before they go home.
Preventing the spread of germs and maintaining personal hygiene are not the only motivating factors, here. Construction workers also routinely come into contact with hazardous materials over the course of a normal working day. Solvents, various kinds of dust, paint, coatings, mold, and other harmful substances can come into contact with a construction worker’s hands, and they all need to be washed off with running water and soap.
Workers need to be able to wash their hands to protect their skin and their general health from contact with hazardous materials, as well as to prevent cross-contamination that may put the progress of the work in jeopardy. In addition, workers with small injuries such as cuts or scrapes will instantly turn to hand wash stations to clean their wounds.
While hand sanitizing stations, which offer alcohol-based hand sanitizers rather than running water and soap, can be an acceptable alternative when the goal is to stop germs in their tracks, the same cannot be said for hazardous substances. This is why portable sinks are a must on construction sites. Construction sites may still wish to offer hand sanitizing stations in addition to portable handwash stations, but hand sanitizer simply cannot replace soap, water, and towels.
How Many Hand Wash Stations Does a Construction Site Need?
How many handwash stations should you install on your construction site? That depends on the nature of the project. In general, you require one hand wash station for every 20 employees to comply with OSHA regulations, and you will want to round that number up. That means, for instance, that a job site with 55 workers will need three handwashing stations. Should the site have regular visitors, additional handwash stations should be added to cater to their needs.
What Else Should You Take Into Consideration?
Hand wash stations should be easily accessible and placed wherever a construction worker might require them. They should be separate from portable toilets but located nearby.
Hand wash stations should offer, in addition to running water and soap, skin cleansing agents wherever relevant, a reliable means for workers to dry their hands (disposable paper towels or air dryers), and a place to dispose of paper towels. They must also be labeled clearly. Where necessary, portable handwash stations can provide warm water as well as cold running water.
In cases where workers routinely come into contact with hazardous substances or they will be working longer shifts, providing shower trailers is another option to consider. These portable showers allow workers to rid themselves of all the dust and solvents they come into contact with on the job.
Are you not sure how many handwash stations you need at your construction site? Are you worried about the need to install and maintain handwash stations? You don’t need to think about the technical questions when you work with Arizona Portables. Our experienced staff will take care of all your needs by installing and servicing your portable handwash stations, and we can recommend the right-hand wash stations to cater to the unique conditions on your job site.