General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Should restaurant employees be required to wash their hands after using the bathroom?

Asked by elbanditoroso (29891points) February 4th, 2015

A republican US senator doesn’t think so.


and link

His view: it’s too much government regulation and the free market will take care of bad actors.

I’d love to be a waiter and the next place he goes to eat….

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29 Answers

keobooks's avatar

Actually, you can’t “force” employees to wash their hands right now. You can be required to ask them to wash their hands, and they may be required to do it as well. But nobody is monitoring them in the bathroom. My bet is there are several employees who get away without washing their hands on a daily basis in fast food and maybe even nicer places.

The STUPID thing is, if he’s all free will and free market, why require restaurants to post that they don’t require hand washing? That seems a bit forceful and intrusive.

kritiper's avatar

Hell yes!

chyna's avatar

I prefer my food to not have fecal matter in it.

ibstubro's avatar

Well, he achieved his goal, in that he got press off the stupidity.

What is the difference between posting a non-enforceable “Employees must…” and a “Employees are not…” sign? How is that less regulation?

Either he is in favor of deregulating hand washing, or he is not. It’s as simple as that.

My question for him is, “If we change the ‘No Smoking’ signs to ‘Smoking Not Prohibited in this Facility’ will the market take care o that?

“Shoe and Shirts are Not Required.”
“Management will not refuse service to anyone.”

ragingloli's avatar

because all the restaurants with rotten food, mouldy pantries, scurrying rats and roaches are such great examples of the market regulating itself.

canidmajor's avatar

I think this was all rather stupidly put on his part, but I (on some rereads) think that he is actually saying that the government shouldn’t regulate/legislate the hygiene practices of Americans, not that said Americans shouldn’t wash their hands.
Stupidly projected, but the idea that the government would have the right/ability/requirement to actually police and enforce bathroom practices is pretty daunting.

gailcalled's avatar

“Wrapping up the Q&A, the moderator joked to Tillis, “I’m not sure I’m gonna shake your hand.”

ibstubro's avatar

Far right headline:

“Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) Advocates Deregulating Public Health”.

Jaxk's avatar

The over regulation is a good point but using hand washing as an example was stupid. For example, I have a small convenience store, In the back room are mostly sinks. I have a small bathroom with a sink for washing your hands. I also have a huge 3 compartment sink (about 10’ long) for washing dishes. The only thing I have to wash in it is a pair of tongs used for taking hot dogs off the roller grill. I also have a mop sink and they made me install another hand washing sink just in case some one was in the bathroom and another employee felt the need to wash their hands.

It is hard to believe all those sinks are really necessary but when regulators get going, they simply don’t know when to stop.

janbb's avatar

Each of these guys sounds stupider than the next. I wonder if the American people are listening at all.

If we let “market forces” work, does that mean a restaurant will listen when all of its customers have traceable food poisoning?

ibstubro's avatar

In fact, the requirement for employees to sanitize their hands before returning to work could easily be enforced by having separate bathrooms (probably a good idea anyway) with a lightly tinted hand soap or sanitizer.

I agree with @Jaxk completely and it just stacks the deck higher against small business every day. Big business just modifies new construction and orders 200,000 retro-fits for existing outlets at a negotiated mass discount. Plumbing is not cheap. $5,000 – $10,000 unexpected expense can put a little guy under.

I have a little rental building literally the size of a two care garage and the crap they have made the renters do over the years is unbelievable. You can literally spit from the front door to the back, but lighted exit signs were required. The tattoo parlor ended up with 3 sinks in a space the size of a 1 car garage.

I was talking to a guy this week. He was all set to open a small (seating under 100) comedy club in a downtown historic building. One of the final inspections? It’s required to have an overhead sprinkler system in a ‘gathering’ place (as opposed to retail space). Cost? $30,000. Hmm…another vacant historic building.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’m convinced there must be some ongoing internal contest within the GOP to see who can out-stupid everyone else. Maybe the prize is awarded weekly. Winner gets a free steak dinner.

stanleybmanly's avatar

All of us say stupid things at one time or another, and it’s virtually impossible today for any politician to say something stupid and get away with it. But this sort of thing is disturbing for reasons beyond signs that a dummy is passing laws. There isn’t a guy in the world who hasn’t taken a whiz then walked away, and we here can debate whether or not businesses are over regulated in America, but anyone here prepared to dismiss the necessity for handwashing by restaurant employees is standing on rather shaky ground and WE ALL KNOW IT!

And this brings me to the real reason this sort of crap is upsetting. It is one more example of the mental acuity exhibited by the folks who govern us Frankly, anyone who says out loud in a public forum that the handwashing requirement amounts to government over reach is a fool regardless of what he believes. Slip of the tongue it was not, because this idiot proceeded to defend the remark throughout the event. He now states that he didn’t say it. My position on the thing is WE GET THE GOVERNMENT WE DESERVE!

syz's avatar

Yes, thanks Tillis, for making NC look like a moron again.

@chyna If you don’t want your food to have fecal matter in it, you should look to factory farming and the USDA. “It’s not whether or not people are going to eat shit – they are. It’s just how much.” -USDA Food Safety Inspector. Incidentally, meat processing assembly lines are being sped up and numbers of inspectors are being reduced.

gailcalled's avatar

“Winner gets a free steak dinner,” at a very special restaurant.

Pachy's avatar

Tillis (I won’t dignify him by calling him Sen) should be to required to eat daily at restaurants where (1) employees don’t wash their hands and (2) who serve patrons with un-vaccinated children.

talljasperman's avatar

I’m scared of sanitizer It’s makes me uncomfortable (it kills the good germs too)... I will wash my hands with soap and water.

johnpowell's avatar

So by this logic I should be able to smoke weed and drive a forklift. Both acts can kill innocent people but the market will sort it out. If I am high and tip a forklift on someone their next of kin will sue and the business should go under. If I don’t wash my hands and my shit gets all over your steak and you get sick you will sue and they will go under.

Fucking regulations.

Fucking hell, the last few batches of Republicans make me miss the second Bush.

ragingloli's avatar

“If I am high and tip a forklift on someone their next of kin will sue and the business should go under.”
If it is legal, then there is no wrong doing on your part, and any lawsuit will fail, if there would even be one.

ibstubro's avatar

@syz But wouldn’t you rather a crispy bit of cow shit over a fresh schmear of people poop?

johnpowell's avatar

Actually, you can totally sue here for negligence. My aunt sued a gas station because she fell in a pothole and broke a hip. No laws against potholes but you can be sued if you neglected to fix a obvious danger.

ucme's avatar

It should be instinctive for everyone to wash their hands everytime they use the bathroom, regardless.

sahID's avatar

Exactly, @ragingloli. For a variety of examples of restaurants operating in less than appetizing ways, just catch up to Restaurant Impossible (Food Network originally, also 25 episodes on Netflix) or Kitchen Nightmares (FOX originally, also a few seasons available on Netflix.)

I have no doubt that there are many, many more restaurants (especially fast food) nationwide where employee hand washing is the least of their problems. The sad thing is: the market is blind to such problems, even though they represent threats to public health.

This is also the flaw in markets regulating themselves: where profit maximization is the only goal, cutting corners to minimize costs is considered great business practice. What better way for a restaurant to reduce operating costs than to reduce water use by discouraging employee hand washing?

Am I advocating government step in with new mandates in this area? Absolutely not, because government mandates always go too far to the point of absurdity.

JLeslie's avatar

In my opinion there should be a sink for employees as they enter the kitchen.

If you wash your hands and them grab the handle to pull open the door, then you get the germs left by other people who didn’t wash.

To answer the question, of course there should be laws that employees wash their hands after using the bathroom.

Now, if only architects can figure out to have restaurant bathroom doors swing out to the hall so when you leave the bathroom you don’t need to use your hands to pull open the door. In single bathrooms it doesn’t matter.

LostInParadise's avatar

If I did not know the guy was being serious, I would have thought he was satirizing libertarianism. Hey it’s my part of the lifeboat, and if I want to drill holes in the floor it is nobody else’s business!

keobooks's avatar

I think honestly that the Senator was trying to make a point that small business owners can their businesses tied up in over-regulation and that there were some silly and pointless laws in effect that stymied most people.

He just happened to pick a really bad example. Instead of correcting himself and saying “Man, hand washing was the WRONG example for me to pick” he flustered around and made up a bunch of weird scenarios and hypothetical laws to back up his flub.

I don’t think he actually believes this at all. He just didn’t want to backpedal on what he said and ended up sounding much stupider than he would have if he just admitted that he made a mistake when he picked hand washing as an example of over-regulation.

ibstubro's avatar

As far as I’m concerned, he means it until he recants – that the new lay of the American governmental land. He said that replacing one sign for another constitutes less regulation. It was an ignorant statement and he should be held to it, daily. Maybe he’d learn a little tolerance. [Bwahaaaa!]

janbb's avatar

@LostInParadise ” Hey it’s my part of the lifeboat, and if I want to drill holes in the floor it is nobody else’s business!.”

That summarizes beautifully so much of what is wrong with America today.

syz's avatar

Aaaaaand, we’re a topic of The Daily Show. Again.

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