Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards/No sink in animal-care workplace

Advertisement


Question
Hi,

I work in a small kennel in rhode island. Instead of having a bathroom with a sink we have a portapotty (no sink, just hand sanitizer).

It seems wrong that we can't wash up after going to the bathroom or after coming into contact with canine fecal matter or vomit, both of which happen frequently just because of the nature of the job. We also use small amounts of bleach twice a day and don't have anywhere to wash our hands if it splashes onto them.

My employers home is across the road, so i dont think he had much incentive to install a bathroom when he bought the place (it used to be a horse barn and he converted it).

Do you think we have grounds for a complaint? I've done some internet research but I can't tell for sure if a portapotty satisfies the requirements for a workplace bathroom, or if our proximity to fecal matter entitles us to a sink even though it seems unfair.

Thank you!

Answer
Subject: No sink in animal-care workplace

Question: Hi, I work in a small kennel in Rhode Island. Instead of having a bathroom with a sink we have a portapotty (no sink, just hand sanitizer). It seems wrong that we can't wash up after going to the bathroom or after coming into contact with canine fecal matter or vomit, both of which happen frequently just because of the nature of the job. We also use small amounts of bleach twice a day and don't have anywhere to wash our hands if it splashes onto them. My employers home is across the road, so i don’t think he had much incentive to install a bathroom when he bought the place (it used to be a horse barn and he converted it). Do you think we have grounds for a complaint? I've done some internet research but I can't tell for sure if a port-a-potty satisfies the requirements for a workplace bathroom, or if our proximity to fecal matter entitles us to a sink even though it seems unfair. Thank you!

Answer: Given the nature of your exposure suitable hand washing is a must. If a complaint was received your employer would be cited and forced to install suitable means. I am certain that the expense of washing facilities is a concern. Running the required lines for cold and/or hot water lines as well as drains could be very expensive. A review of the term “portable hand washing” on google results in several available units such as those advertised on the following:

Portable Hand Washing Sinks - www.polyjohn.com/sinks/

I have never been involved with this company nor used this type of product so you need to inquire of someone who does have direct knowledge. One other possible solution caught my attention and I would suggest you review the video available:

How to build portable hand washing station for under $20.00 by the University of Minnesota Extension Small Farms at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMa5OTa3PnU

I believe this will assist with your question and provide a solution that will solve the problem without creating more. If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to ask.

Michael Brown, CSP Retired

Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Mike Brown CSP Retired

Expertise

I specialize in the professional management of occupational safety and health as well as workers` compensation to reduce losses and improve production and address related issues through a comprehensive approach by senior management using proven principals.I worked for over twenty (20) years in the management of occupational safety, health and workers` compensation and safety training (Retired from employment in 1996 due to a stroke, which prevented the extensive travel required).

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.