Mitigating hand contamination at recycling depots: are hand wash stations in Metro Vancouver meeting public health standards?
Ding, Amanda (author)
Sidhu, Bobby (Advisor)
British Columbia Institute of Technology School of Health Sciences (Degree granting institution)
Background and Purpose: Although the number of recyclers and amount of accepted materials and their contaminants has increased over the decades, the adequate provision of hand washing equipment to mitigate the transfer of infectious agents at recycling depots has not been well studied. Minimal Standard (MS) depots and STAR-Rated (SR) depots are inspected by Encorp Pacific (Canada) auditors, not health inspectors, and claim to provide adequate hand hygiene equipment. This study compared the adequate provision of essential hand washing equipment at MS and SR depots in Metro Vancouver to determine if they met public health standards. Methods: Inspections of presence/absence of essential hand washing equipment (tap with running water, soap in soap dispenser, hand drying equipment and signage) were carried out at 35 depots throughout Metro Vancouver (Vancouver West End to Abbotsford). Depots recorded with all components were assigned a Pass grade; depots with any one missing component or more were assigned a Fail grade. MS/SR and Pass/Fail grade was analyzed using Chi-squared test on NCSS 9 Statistical Software (NCSS). Results: Of the 35 depots surveyed, fails were present in both MS depots and SR depots. Very few depots had signage. Main reasons for Fails included broken hand dryers and lack of soap. All depots with hand wash stations had running water. Pearson’s Chi-square results for observed Pass/Fail and MS/SR depots compared to expected values were unable to reject null hypothesis (P-value 0.911 > 0.05) even when provision of signage was excluded as a criterion (P-value 0.537 > 0.05). Conclusion: There was no association between depot standard rating and provision of essential hand washing equipment. Lack of signage failed 74.3% of depots but excluding signage from the criteria failed 34.3% of depots. Hand washing is important in mitigating risk of infection from hand contamination from household recyclables and those sorted from waste. Inspecting depots and educating operators from a public health viewpoint may increase provision of essential hand washing equipment and increase hand washing compliance in public users.
© Amanda Ding 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright heron may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphics, electronic, or mechanical including photocopying, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.
Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2015.