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ADA Requirements for Soap Dispensers
The American Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990 and requires facilities to make accommodations for disabled people.
When it comes to hand soap dispensers or hand sanitizing dispensers, there are a couple of requirements you need to be aware of:
1. Reach Ranges for Counters
Soap dispensers should not be placed higher than 44 inches if the reach depth (counter) is more than 20 inches but not more than 25 inches in depth.
2. Reach Range for Walls
Where there is nothing on the floor to obstruct access to the hand sanitizer dispenser, it needs to be no higher than 48 inches from the floor (and not lower than 15 inches)
3. Protrusion from Wall
When mounting a dispenser on a wall, the soap dispenser cannot protrude more than 4 inches from the wall.
4. Operation of dispensers
Dispensers should be able to dispense soap or hand sanitizer with the use of one hand and should not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.
The force required to activate the pump cannot exceed five pounds.
Make sure you are in compliance, as non-compliance can result in legal action including citations, business license restrictions, fines, and injunctions requiring the business to remedy the conditions.
Can Bulk Soap be Contaminated?
The sad truth is that soap from bulk soap dispensers is prone to becoming contaminated.
According to recent studies, contaminated soap may actually do the opposite of what they're supposed to do. Instead of removing germs, they may be adding some!
Think about it – in order to refill a bulk soap dispenser, the dispenser and the left over soap remaining inside of it are exposed to the environment. Airborne germs, foreign objects, and potential inadvertent hand contact from an employee who may have just cleaned the toilets can all mix in to the bulk soap dispenser and contribute to possible contamination. Not to mention the more sinister prospect of contamination through intentional vandalism to the bulk soap as it sits in an “open” bulk soap dispenser.
What About 'Topping Off'?
In the healthcare industry, it has been long accepted that a sealed soap dispensing system is necessary to better ensure infection control. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has published Guidelines for Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings which provides the following advice: “Do not add soap to a partially empty soap dispenser. This practice of 'topping off' dispensers can lead to bacterial contamination of soap.” This unfortunate circumstance of contaminated bulk soap has also been researched and confirmed in public restrooms in non-healthcare settings as well.