The portable hand wash basin is a safe and convenient sink unit for hand washing where there is no plumbed-in water supply. It delivers a measured quantity of water at a temperature that is just right for effective hand washing. Combined with an anti-microbial soap, its use ensures that hands are clean enough for most operations where personal hygiene is of prime importance. In designing and manufacturing the portable hand wash basin, The Mobile Sink Company Ltd has considered the microbiological safety of the unit itself. A summary of our microbiologist’s analysis of the microbiological safety of the unit follows.
The portable hand wash basin water supply is a closed system comprising a water container, tubing (some flexible and some rigid), an electric pump, a heater and a switch, all of which deliver heated water to the sink via a stainless steel faucet. The heater and the length of tubing in which the water is heated are copper lined.
Because the water supply system is essentially closed, contamination of the supply water with pathogenic or other micro-organisms is not to be expected other than at filling and emptying times. Therefore, careful filling and emptying should ensure clean water is supplied at the tap.
Many scientific studies have demonstrated the inhibitory effects of copper on the growth of a variety of organisms, including bacteria, moulds and algae. The copper in contact with the water being heated can therefore be expected to inhibit the growth of many organisms.
Also, because the clean water container is enclosed in a light-tight cupboard, any light-dependent organisms will be naturally inhibited. Therefore, growth of algae will be inhibited whilst the container is inside the cupboard.
The waste water system comprises rigid and flexible pipes feeding from the base of the portable hand wash basin into a waste container. Water is contaminated during hand washing, so there is some potential for the growth of micro-organisms in the waste container. However, since the container is enclosed in the same light-tight cupboard, light-dependent organisms (such as algae) are inhibited. Residual copper in the water may also inhibit growth and the use of antimicrobial soap for hand washing will enhance the effect.
Because the portable hand wash basin contains stored water, it may be considered a potential source of Legionella bacteria. The bacteria are environmental contaminants and become a problem only when they occur in large numbers in, for example, water droplets or aerosols. The risk in relation to the portable hand wash basin is almost nil, but we have considered it wise to apply some controls ourselves and to advise users to apply some. These are as follows:
The unit is microbiologically safe. The user can maintain that safety by following the guidelines for use, cleaning and sanitizing given below.
Emptying the Waste Container
Cleaning the Containers and Pipes