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Bathroom hygiene

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Bathrooms need to be regularly cleaned to prevent the build-up of mould, grime, and infectious and transferrable diseases. Washing your hands is usually the best defence against bacteria that may be lurking and helps ensure good hygiene at work.

Tips

  • Clean facilities regularly.
  • Use your own towel.
  • Wear footwear when showering.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Encourage good hand hygiene.

Potential harm

  • Allergies
  • Sharps injuries
  • Spread of bacteria causing illness

Identified hazards and controls

Transfer of fungal and other disease

Cause

  • Build-up of grime and mould in showers.
  • Lower regard for personal hygiene.

What workers can do

  • Use your own personal towel and toiletries.
  • Wear waterproof footwear in the shower to avoid catching or passing on fungal disease.
  • Thoroughly dry your feet and toes. Use a powder to make sure they are dry.
  • If you have a fungal infection, avoid using the showers until the infection has cleared.
  • Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave wet towels or clothes lying around.

What employers can do

  • Clean toilets, handbasins and showers regularly. The cleaning schedule should consider shift work, the type of work performed, the likelihood of contamination and the number of people using the toilet.
  • Recommend that workers using shower facilities wear footwear, such as waterproof shoes or flip-flops.
  • Put up signage that warns shower users of the risk of fungal infection and how to prevent it.
  • Consider providing antibacterial cleaning solutions.
  • Provide at least one shower cubicle for every 10 workers who may need to shower. Usually, separate facilities should be provided for male and female workers, however, in small or temporary workplaces where privacy can be assured, it may be acceptable to provide one unisex shower (Source: Managing the Work Environment and Facilities Code of Practice 2015).

Needle stick injury

Cause

  • Sharps and syringes not disposed of properly.

What workers can do

  • If you need to use needles to administer medication at work, then dispose of sharps and associated items appropriately so as not to cause harm to others. This may be in a sharps bin, if provided, which is usually located in the bathroom or first aid room.

What employers can do

  • Provide sharps bins for safe disposal of needles and blades, in a location out of reach of children. Sharps bins are usually located in the bathroom or first aid room.
  • Where possible, restrict access to your workplace after hours, to deter non-workers from entering the facilities and using sharps for illicit purposes.

Allergies

Cause

  • Cleaning products and other chemical substances used in showers and toilets.
  • Fragrances and air fresheners.
  • Other worker’s deodorant, perfumes and colognes.

What workers can do

  • If you have an allergy to cleaning products or perfumes, advise your employer so they can make appropriate decisions about the cleaning products that are used, and when.
  • Check if other people are nearby or have an allergy before spraying deodorants and perfumes.

What employers can do

  • Act on any concerns raised about the use of fragrances in the office by consulting with employees to find out the issue.

More information

Legislation

Codes

Page last reviewed: 30 April 2021

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 26 Jun 2022

https://www.comcare.gov.au/office-safety-tool/spaces/bathrooms/bathroom-hygiene