The maintenance of a Changing Places toilet, including security and day to day management, can be valid points of concern for some businesses wanting to be more inclusive and improve accessibility. Here we demonstrate that armed with the right knowledge, and a good plan, these concerns are not concerns after all. Maintaining a Changing Places toilet isn’t that different to maintaining a standard toilet or any other visitor facility.
Whether your facility is located inside your premises or you have installed a new modular Changing Places toilet, access should be given careful consideration to ensure the facility isn’t misused or open to damage. These are both legitimate concerns but thankfully there are several solutions available to secure your Changing Paces toilet ensuring it is clean, safe, and ready to use for those who need it the most.
What type of access you use for your facility will depend on the location of the toilet and the type of business you run. Here are some common ways to manage access.
A good way to provide the right people with access is by fitting the toilet with a National Key Scheme (NKS) lock. This means only those registered with a national key scheme, such as Radarcan access the toilet. Many people with disabilities are already registered with the scheme so this option can work in situations where access can’t be monitored closely – in a park, for example or a town centre.
If your facility is in a location where it can be routinely checked by staff or is highly visible to staff, then there is no reason why you can’t always leave the toilet open. This gives access to the greatest amount of people, quickly, but will not be practical for all businesses.
If you want to control who can access your facility more closely, a toilet can be fitted with a keypad where a code is entered or a lock for which you hold the key. Although this affords you maximum control over security, it isn’t always the most convenient for users as they must ask for access at reception, or from a toilet attendant.
Finally, some businesses that see high numbers of return visitors (swimming baths are a good example) may wish to set up a membership scheme whereby regular visitors sign up their first visit and are then given a key, code, or swipe card to enable them to access the facility easily on return visits.
As you can see, there are many creative ways to control access and ensure whilst your toilet is kept secure, access isn’t made difficult. Whichever option you decide to use, it must be made clear how access can be gained to the toilet in as many places as possible, including your website, promotional materials, and especially on the toilet door itself.
The amount of daily management your facility needs will depend on often it is used and where it is located.
Keeping your Changing Places toilet clean is just as important as keeping any other toilet clean for visitors – for health and safety reasons, and to create a better experience for visitors. Cleaning a Changing Places toilet is no more complex or different to any other bathroom so the facility can simply be added to your cleaning roster and taken care of when other bathrooms are. This may need to be done more often in a situation where there are a lot of visitors. During cleaning, supplies should also be replenished too such as toilet paper, and wide paper rolls. To encourage toilet users to keep the facility clean you can also include signage and cleaning materials asking people to wipe areas like the changing bench after they have been used.
Changing Places toilets do not require any special monitoring, staff supervision or assistance with using the facility. People needing to use the facility will have family, friends, or assistants to help them. The only thing you must keep an eye on is the call for emergency assistance alert. All Changing Places toilets must be fitted with an emergency call button, the same way standard accessible toilets are. Managing a call would be managed in the same way you would respond to your current accessible toilet.
Although staff are not required to manage or oversee a Changing Places toilet on a daily basis, they need to be aware of several things, including where the toilet is located and how access is gained. Well informed staff should be able to point visitors to your facilities and if you control access internally, they should know how visitors can access the toilet immediately. Finally, Changing Places training is not mandatory but it’s a great idea to provide your team with awareness training so that they understand what Changing Places are, the types of people that may use them, and why these toilets are so important.
Changing Places toilets are not high maintenance but there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.
Under Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), if your business provides lifting equipment for the use of other people, you need to manage and control risks to reduce the risk of injury or damage. In a Changing Places toilet, this applies to the ceiling hoist – it is up to you to ensure that the hoist is in good condition, safe to use, and has a safe working weight limit. This can be managed through routine LOLER testing (which is something we can arrange for you).
Maintenance includes checking other pieces of equipment to ensure they are in good condition and safe to use, a visual inspection is adequate – checking the facility to ensure everything works as it should, door locks, soap dispensers, taps etc. It’s also a good idea to check on an annual basis that signage directing people towards your toilet is still in place, easy to follow, and in good condition.
Alarms should also be tested alongside your other routine alarm checks – for both fire alarms and the emergency call button.
Our three or five-year extended warranties provide regular servicing and maintenance to ensure that legal obligations are covered at a fixed cost.
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To learn more about Changing Places, why not download our brochure or attend one of our monthly online seminars.
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