This is a legacy version of the WELL Building Standard. Please check the latest version here.

Hand washing

Hand washing is one of the most important and effective means of reducing the transmission of pathogens through food. Responsible for approximately 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths occurring in the U.S. each year, foodborne illness is a major cause of preventable illness and death, personal distress and avoidable economic burden. Regular rinsing with soap and water helps to reduce the spread of unwanted and potentially dangerous germs. In addition, using paper towels to dry hands is more effective in removing bacteria than using air dryers. Since liquid soap in bulk refillable dispensers is prone to bacterial contamination, utilizing sealed liquid soap cartridges reduces the possibility for bacterial contamination and significantly reduces bacteria on hands whereas contaminated refillable dispensers increase bacteria on hands after hand-washing. Hand washing sinks should also provide sufficient room for washing one’s hands without touching the sink sides, to prevent possible recontamination.

Part 1: Hand Washing Supplies

The following are provided, at a minimum, at all sink locations:

a.76 Fragrance-free hand soap in accordance with the Cleaning, Disinfection and Hand Hygiene Product section in Table A4 in Appendix C.
b.68 Disposable paper towels (air dryers are not forbidden, but are supplemented).
Part 2: Contamination Reduction

The following is provided, at a minimum, at all sink locations:

a.68 Liquid soap in dispensers with disposable and sealed soap cartridges.
Part 3: Sink Dimensions

Bathroom and kitchen sinks meet the following requirements:

a.70 The sink column of water is at least 25 cm [10 inches] in length.
b.70 The handwashing basin is at least 23 cm [9 inches] in width and length.
Part 4: Hand Washing Station Location

Bathroom and kitchen sinks meet the following requirement:

a.69 Where applicable, a handwashing station or a clear sign pointing to the nearest handwashing station, is located at the entryway to areas intended for food consumption.
Digestive
Immune
Endocrine
Integumentary
Reproductive

Applicability Matrix

Core & Shell New & Existing Buildings New & Existing Interiors
Part 1: Hand Washing Supplies - P P
Part 2: Contamination Reduction - P P
Part 3: Sink Dimensions - P P
Commercial Kitchen Education Multifamily Residential Restaurant Retail
Part 1: Hand Washing Supplies P O - P P
Part 2: Contamination Reduction P O - P P
Part 3: Sink Dimensions P O O P P
Part 4: Hand Washing Station Location P O - P -

Verification Methods Matrix

Letters of Assurance Annotated Documents On-Site Checks
Part 1: Hand Washing Supplies Operations Schedule Spot Check
Part 2: Contamination Reduction Visual Inspection
Part 3: Sink Dimensions Architect Spot Check
Part 4: Hand Washing Station Location Visual Inspection
68

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5116.pdf. Published 2002. Accessed September 15, 2014.

41.1.a

The CDC notes: "Studies indicate that the frequency of handwashing or anti- septic handwashing by personnel is affected by the accessibility of hand-hygiene facilities." These studies are specific to health-care settings.

41.1.b

The CDC's Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings recommend the use of disposable towels for the maintenance of hand-hygiene.

41.2.a

The CDC's Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings identifies that the practice of "topping off" hand soap dispensers can lead to bacterial contamination of soap.

69

Food and Drug Administration. Food Code: 2013 Recommendations of the United States Public Health Service Food and Drug Administration. PB2013-110462. Published 2013.

41.1.b

The Food Code notes that handwashing sinks should be located in areas for convenient use by employees involved in food preparation.

41.4.a

The Food Code 6-301.14 requires signage notifying food employees to wash their hands at all handwashing sinks.

70

Facility Guidelines Institute. Guidelines for Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities. http://www.apic.org/Resource_/TinyMceFileManager/Practice_Guidance/APIC-.... Published 2011. Accessed September 15, 2014.

41.3.a

The Guidelines for Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities set the discharge point of hand-washing sinks at minimum 10 inches (25.40 centimeters) above the bottom of the basin.

41.3.b

The Guidelines for Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities set the area of a hand washing basin at minimum 144 square inches (929 square cm), with a minimum 9-inch (22.86-cm) width or length.

76

World Health Organization. WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care. http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/tools/who_guidelines-handhygiene_summary.pdf. Published 2009. Accessed September 15, 2014.

41.1.a

The WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care state that antibacterials offer no additional benefit to using non-antibacterial soap. Fragrance is not recommended because of the risk of allergies.