Every infant bed, whether in a single or multiple-bed room, shall
be within 20 feet (6 meters) of a hands-free handwashing station.
Handwashing stations shall be no closer than 3 feet (0.9 meter) from
an infant bed, clean supply storage, or counter/worksurface unless a
splashguard is provided.
Handwashing sinks shall be large enough to control splashing and
designed to avoid standing or retained water. Minimum dimensions for
a handwashing sink are 24 inches wide x 16 inches front to back x 10
inches deep (61 cm x 41 cm x 25 cm) from the bottom of the sink to
the top of its rim. Space for pictorial handwashing instructions
shall be provided above all sinks. There shall be no aerator on the
faucet. Walls adjacent to handwashing sinks shall be constructed of
non-porous material. Space shall also be provided for soap and towel
dispensers and for appropriate trash receptacles. Towel dispensers
shall operate so that only the towel itself need be touched in the
process of dispensing, and constructed in such a fashion as to
control noise as per Standard 27.
Handwashing facilities located at a level where they can be used
by people in wheelchairs shall be available in the NICU.
Separate receptacles for biohazardous and non-biohazardous waste
shall be available.
Interpretation: Proper hand hygiene is a key
component in the prevention and reduction of spread of infection in
health care settings. Alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) have been shown
to be more effective than soap-and-water handwashing in
decontaminating hands that are not visibly soiled. ABHR dispensers
can be easily located at sites where hand hygiene is required.
Handwashing sinks are also required in close proximity to infant
spaces to be used when hands or soiled or contaminated with body
Sinks for handwashing should not be built into counters. Sink
location, construction material and related hardware (paper towel
and soap dispensers) should be chosen with durability, ease of
operation, ease of cleaning, and noise control in mind.
Non-absorbent wall material should be used around sinks to prevent
the growth of mold on cellulose material.
Local, state, and federal regulatory agencies dictate what
healthcare-generated waste is biohazardous or non-biohazardous and
appropriate disposal methods that are dependent on the type of
waste. Depending upon the jurisdiction, biohazard signage may need
to be affixed.