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Was that a keg party we stumbled upon recently on a Haws LinkedIn post? Considering what we’ve all had to deal with lately, who could blame Haws if the drinking fountain and emergency response products maker didn’t decide to throw down a get-together right on the company’s Sparks, Nevada manufacturing floor.
But that was no beer keg – although it certainly looks like one. Technically, it’s just a “pressurized water tank” that the company buys from an OEM that’s topped with a goose-necked faucet instead of, you know, a tapper.
Together, they make up Haws’ newest product – the Haws Portable Handwashing Station Model No. 7603-2000, a 15-gallon unit built to stand up to tough jobsite conditions that will provide 30-40 all-important hand washes to keep workers safe and COVID-19 at bay.
“Great example of teamwork by the Haws team,” said the post written by Brett Engelland, director of national accounts at Haws. “With everything happening around the current pandemic our customers have been asking us to help solve their problem of providing hand washing when their teams are in the field, on trucks, or in train yards without access to running water. Using existing products a cross functional team of engineering, customer service and sales produced a fast, durable and effective solution. Go team Haws!”
Standing alongside the product in Engelland’s post is Michael Schmidt, a manufacturing engineer, whose quick help went into developing the product and whom we can only imagine is smiling for the camera under his face mask.
“When the pandemic hit, we started getting a lot of calls from our customers wondering if we offered a portable hand washing station,” Engelland told us. “At first we said no, but we have been in the portable pressurized eyewash market for a while now, which was the main reason for the calls.”
That would be the Haws Portable Air-Pressurized Emergency Eyewash Model No. 7603, which came out about four years ago. On the company’s website, Haws describes the product as “an ideal, cost-efficient solution for a facility’s ANSI eyewash requirements in locations without access to a continuous potable water source. The pressurized 15 gallon (56.8 L) personal portable eyewash provides a reliable source of safety for the irrigation process.”
One look at that product, particularly a very familiar 16-inch diameter beer keg, err, steel tank, and you can begin to see why light bulbs started to go off above the head of that “cross functional team” Engelland mentioned in his LinkedIn post.
Of course, a tank is only half the answer. In addition to the portable eyewash station, Haws also offers Sink Faucet Model No. 5519LF, a stay-open lever handle, compression gooseneck faucet. According to the company’s website, “this type of deck-mounted glass-filler faucet may be placed in settings such as: school, classrooms, laboratories, restaurants … ”
“So everyone is having a conversation where we know we have this tank and we know we have these faucets and is there a way we could Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup this thing together,” Engelland said. “We got our engineering team involved and in the space of one night they said they could do it, and within a couple of days we had a production sample and we knew this was going to be what customers had been asking us for.”
While it’s a 15-gallon tank in dimension, it’s best to fill it with 10 gallons to pressurize the product correctly. Based on a 20- to 30-second hand wash, the station will provide 30-40 hand washes before refilling.
“Anywhere where you’re going to have remote crew working and you’re worried about hand washing, this is the perfect product,” Engelland says. “It’s built tough and can also be strapped on the back of a truck, too. A great way to stay safe during this pandemic is to wash your hands frequently. The only jobsite this new product wouldn’t help keep everyone safer is if the workers did have access to running water.”
Users can plan to add a special bacteriostatic preservative that Haws sells in 8-ounce bottles, one of which will preserve 5-20 gallons of potable water for up to four months. While the water isn’t designed to drink from, the company recommends the use of the additive to keep skin protected.
“Any water that sits for a prolonged period of time can grow biofilms when stored in a container like this, which can then clog up the faucet on this unit and be unpleasant and unsanitary for the user,” Engelland explains. “The feedback we’ve gotten from customers is they want something they can drop out at a remote jobsite or park on a truck or train car and then leave there for a while, so the additive makes sure the water will be fine for use over that, say, four-month period of time.”
The unit is designed to drain to the ground, but there are third-party drum spill containment products easily available for indoor areas.
A tempering blanket is also available to keep the water warm, if need be.