A number of societal trends and issues are affecting the development and installation of commercial washroom products. Here’s a discussion of these issues, and ideas for addressing them in our public facilities:
Issue: Combatting Coronavirus and flu outbreaks
Research shows that people are have been growing more concerned about getting sick during cold and flu season but this past season has been one for the history books. Bradley’s annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey revealed that in Dec. 2019, even before the Coronavirus outbreak, 60% of Americans were extremely or quite concerned about catching the flu.
Now, with the global spread of the Coronavirus and a very intense flu season, sickness concerns are especially at an all-time high. Health experts agree the single most effective way to protect yourself from picking up sickness-inducing germs is to wash hands with soap and water diligently for at least 20 seconds.
Solution: Ensuring hand washing equipment and supplies
For facilities, public infectious health concerns necessitate that restroom cleaning and maintenance support hand washing of building visitors and occupants. This means increased checking and stocking of soap and towels and ensuring that sinks are in complete working order.
One of Bradley’s newest hand washing innovations—the all-in-one touchless WashBar®—is designed with clean+rinse+dry technology that minimizes germ touchpoints in restrooms.
The WashBar incorporates several features that improve restroom cleanliness and maintenance, including these three:
1. A cleaning mode which allows maintenance staff to temporarily disable the functions to allow the hand washing fixture to be cleaned.
2. A one-gallon soap container that requires fewer refills. When the low-level LED indicator illuminates, the soap container is replaced with a new full container, minimizing germ contamination associated with refills.
3. To stop germs and bacterial growth in the fixture between uses, the WashBar is programmed to purge water every 24 hours for 5 seconds if the unit hasn’t been activated. In effect, stagnant water is drained from the piping system and flushed with water to reduce and prevent growth of bacteria.
Issue: Restroom slips and falls
Standing water and floors make a bad combination resulting in slips, trips and falls. We’ve all learned the hard way: If your foot comes in contact with a little water on hard flooring surface, it can be enough to cause a fall.
Unfortunately, accidental falls are very common. Slips and falls account for over 1 million hospital emergency room visits, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NSFI).
Solution: Increasing restroom safety with all-in-one hand washing technology
Bradley’s WashBar is engineered to keep water from splashing outside the basin. Its dryer works in tandem with the bowl to contain water and eliminate dripping or splashing on the floor, wall or user, keeping washroom spaces cleaner, dryer, slip-free and safer.
Issue: Addressing restroom design for more obese/elderly population
Public facilities must be equipped to accommodate and stabilize other segments of the population—no matter their size—who may need extra support and balance. This includes the growing elderly population, and those who are disabled and/or in rehabilitation facilities.
Complicating matters, there is currently no standard by a third-party organization for bariatric—or people of size—design in commercial/institutional restrooms and shower rooms.
Solution: Designing restrooms that are durable for all sizes
Bradley has addressed this unmet building need for stabilizing all sizes of end-users, and now offers its grab bars and shower seats with industry-best load ratings.
Bradley’s new line of SteadyCare® Solutions includes heavy duty grade and bariatric restroom grab bars and shower seats. Designed for use by people of all sizes in all types of commercial restroom and shower applications, these durable products withstand higher load ratings using third-party rated products.
SteadyCare grab bar models are now rated at 550, 900, 1,000 and 1,250 pounds with a wide selection of configurations. SteadyCare shower seats are available with ratings from 500 pounds to an industry-leading 1,200 pounds. Made of sturdy phenolic and Bradmar solid plastic materials, these folding shower seats allow users to easily fold up the seats when not in use.
Addressing hand hygiene, slips and falls, and stability for people of all sizes in restrooms are issues that will likely progress with time. Employing durable products designed for healthier restroom environments will improve maintenance and facility user satisfaction.
Kris Alderson, LEED AP, is a senior marketing manager for Bradley Corporation of Menomonee Falls, Wis., a USGBC member and manufacturer of locker room products, plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories, partitions and emergency fixtures. She can be reached at Bradley Corp., W142 N9101 Fountain Blvd., Menomonee Falls, Wis., 53052-0309. For more information, call (800) BRADLEY or visit bradleycorp.com.
All images provided courtesy of Bradley Corporation.