Options for workers without facilities

Photo credit: phunkstarr/Jon-Eric Melsæter on Flickr

I stopped by the trade show at the 2011 Western Safety Conference in Vancouver on April 19 and enjoyed many interesting conversations.

For example, I’ve been invited to be strapped onto a rescue board and lifted up in a mock confined space rescue – which I am seriously considering. Stay tuned for lots of stories as I follow up with folks in the weeks to come.

One unique thing I brought home is a Brief Relief Urinal Bag – designed for workers who don’t have access to toilets. I got one from Colin Kryski, president of Potti Corp, based in Calgary.

Colin told me these “portable lavatory” bags are used by truckers, utility workers, military personnel, and other folks who need a hygienic solution when nature calls but there’s nowhere to go.

When I got home, I checked out the Brief Relief website, where I found an impressive client list that includes BC Hydro, Telus, City of Vancouver, and the RCMP.

The bags are funnel-shaped and can be used by women and men. They have a “one-way valve to prevent accidental spills” and the pee turns into a “deodorized gel” when it mixes with the “proprietary blend of naturally bioactive polymers and enzymes” in each bag – “safe for disposal in any trash receptacle.”

They also have Disposa-John Kits that holds liquid and solid waste. Enough said.

“Holding it in” can be hazardous to your health

Colin mentioned some of these hazards that are described on the Brief Relief website: “Holding it or delayed voiding, in medical terms, can cause your body serious harm including urinary tract infections, bladder disease and kidney stones.”

Aside from these potential health effects, it’s also pretty distracting when you’ve realllllly gotta go – and the Brief Relief website points out associated safety risks such as: “Increased probability of vehicular accidents… [and] Increased time engaging in behaviors with a high likelihood of injury such as lifting, lowering, and bending.”

I’ve never thought about this safety issue before – nor about the hygiene risks faced by workers who come up with unsanitary solutions to the “no toilet” problem. My awareness is raised, and I’m sure my son will enjoy trying the sample during our next long car trip!


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