As we covered in a previous article, the Department of Health has proposed a few changes to the current health code to take effect sometime in the near future. Quite a few of these changes require ServSafe food managers to make changes to how they operate their kitchens and train their employees. This week, we’d like to take a look at the proposal to alter some of the requirements for employee handwashing stations.
Preparing for Changes to Regulations for Handwashing Stations
From a quick glance, we notice a few things in this proposal that ServSafe food managers should note:
- Fingernail brushes will no longer be required
- Heated-air or air-knife hand dryers will be allows at handwashing stations in kitchen areas
- Handwashing signage at employee handwashing stations will be required rather than voluntary
Of these three changes, we note that only one of them involves taking away the requirement of a convenient handwashing tool. Once these changes go into effect, a nailbrush will no longer be required at your handwashing station. The reason behind this decision comes from the fact that while a clean nailbrush can be a great tool in sanitation, one that is not cleaned regularly can actually spread bacteria from one hand to another. If your nailbrush receives constant use without proper cleaning and replacement, you may be promoting a health hazard rather than preventing one.
While fairly common in restrooms, forced-air hand dryers rarely are seen in the kitchen. These new handwashing stations guidelines will allow for air-knife and heated-air hand dryers in kitchen areas. These hand dryers provide an economical solution over single-use paper towels, but they should be sanitized periodically to maintain a germ free drying solution. If your forced-air hand dryer contains an air filter, make sure to replace it regularly.
Finally, up until now handwashing signage at employee handwashing stations has been voluntary. The new rules require a handwashing procedure poster at each handwashing sink. This offers a visual reminder to your staff to wash regularly and properly.
Over the coming months, we will be diving into many of the new proposed rule changes. How do you feel about the proposed regulations concerning handwashing stations?