Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wash hands after bathroom visit? How about before?

United States Senator Thom Tillis, freshman Republican from North Carolina, made a splash in the national media during a question and answer session Monday at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington DC. Tillis was discussing the regulation that requires restaurant employees to wash their hands after using the facilities, a nice way of saying that after urinating or defecating on their hands their hands require a little scrubbing, using soap of course. Tillis said the requirement is an unnecessary regulation and the patrons would be the ones to decide if there’s a health concern. Instead of the sign saying employees must wash prior to exiting the restroom, there should be a sign saying employees are not required to wash, leaving it up to the customer to eat there, believes Tillis.

This is an interesting situation. No restroom is completely sanitary. There are facilities with faucets activated by motion; there are soap dispensers that do the same; there are paper towel machines that ditto. Studies have shown the most sanitary method of drying one’s hands after washing is by use of the seems-to-be-extinct continuous roll cloth towels. Second is paper; third is the air blasting machine. Even with those automated devices, what depositing paper towels in non-automatic or non-open waste cans. What about the door knobs? Are either sanitary to grab after washing hands with soap and drying? And what about anything else on the way back to the kitchen? Probably not.

In my Dad’s business in the 1950s was a toilet facility with the sink on the outside of that room. The work in the plant was all hands; most work is. According to Dad, each employee except one would enter the toilet room, and, upon exit, wash his hands and return to work. That one employee first washed his hands, went to the toilet, and then returned straight to his work station without another stop at the sink. When asked why he did it that way, his response was: “My hands are filthy when I need to go to the toilet, so I wash them first so I do not touch myself with dirty hands. And, I know how and where I’m clean so there is no need to wash when I exit.” Makes sense…sort of!

Maybe wash sinks are in the wrong place. In some Smithfield’s Chicken ’N Bar-B-Q restaurants, the same has been true, the one in Siler City for sure. Patrons and workers alike enter the toilet room. Upon exit, for all patrons to see, employees and patrons alike are shamed into washing their hands, sign or no sign. Maybe that sink is in the right place.
-------------------- word of the day
succorance (noun) [suhk-er-uh ns]: the act of seeking out affectionate care and social support

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