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Home : Media : News
NEWS | May 21, 2020

Command builds hand-washing stations to help protect workers from COVID-19

By Max Maxfield, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

A team of woodcrafters from Shop 64 built 12 hand-washing stations for distribution and use across the shipyard. These stations are part of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility’s efforts to keep the workforce healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Wayne G. Johnson, Waterfront Facilities Support branch head, Code 980M.3, Production Engineering and Facilities, the new plumbed hand-washing stations will replace some of the plastic self-contained hand-washing stations that require constant replenishment of supplies.

“For me, this is a continuation of the innovative thinking that comes from our workforce,” said Dwight Otis, PSNS & IMF deputy production resources manager. “From the time of the idea to the actual delivery, it has been a team effort, which benefits our workforce.”

The new plumbed handwashing station each have two bays with a pedal-activated sink and an electric hand-dryer in each bay. The sinks are similar to those in permanent restrooms. When users press the foot pedal, warm water flows through the faucet for as long as needed. Unlike the self-contained units, there is no need to pump the pedal to receive a squirt of cold water.

“With increased hand washing due COVID-19, self-contained hand wash stations run out of supplies very quickly,” Johnson said. “The new hand-washing stations have a virtually unlimited supply of everything but soap, which is the easiest of supplies to replenish. The electric hand dryers will also minimize trash cans overflowing with paper towel waste and paper towels adrift. We cannot replace all of the self-contained units, but the new units are a great improvement in locations that have all of the necessary utilities.”

According to Otis, PSNS & IMF is always looking for ways to protect the workforce from injuries, and illness in the case of the COVID-19 threat.

“Safety is one of the most important strategies in the command’s Strategic Framework,” Otis said. “These stations will aid in the command’s continual effort to create an injury-free workplace.”

The construction of the hand-washing stations was a team effort. Ken Peterson, Shop 64 general foreman, designed the plumbed hand-washing stations. Shop 64 woodcrafters built them and electricians with Shop 06, Production Tooling, Logistics, and Planning, wired them, said Johnson. They were built atop pallets for easy movement and placement throughout the shipyard.

“We can place them on the floor of each dry dock, topside around each dry dock, and potentially in a few other locations,” Johnson said. “We can place them in any location where freshwater, electricity and gravity-feed sanitary sewers are available.”

According to Johnson, the new plumbed hand-washing stations are expected to last about 15 years or more.

“The Centers for Disease Control recommends frequent 20-second duration hand washing to combat COVID-19,” said Johnson. “These hand-washing stations will enable that type hand washing to occur easily and at the dry dock. These hand-washing stations should remain in service as an improvement long after COVID-19 is behind us.”