Ref: Jim Beam Brands Company, a unit of Fortune Brands Inc., bottling
plant in Clermont, Kentucky
In an attempt to return past employee practices, the subject
Jim Beam plant implemented a bathroom break policy in September 2001 that dictated when
employees could relieve themselves. The new policy resulted in
a citation by Kentucky state regulators for violating the States version
of their OHSA
Toilet regulations. Jim Beam is fighting this citation.
While limited to Kentucky
, if Jim
Beam wins the right to restrict workers’ access to the restroom, it
undermines the only Federal Regulation that defines the negative
health impact of denying people the right to go to the toilet.
As documented in the book 'Void
Where Prohibited' there is a good chance this policy will not improve
productivity. What is more certain is that it will tarnish
their corporate image, reduce the quality of life of their employees, and
probably impact their workers health. People can suffer from many
conditions that require them, to at times, urgently need to use a
restroom. When access is denied there are consequences.
|Medical studies show the importance of regular
urination, with women generally needing to void more frequently than men.
Adverse health effects that may result from voluntary urinary retention
include increased frequency of urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can
lead to more serious infections and, in rare situations, renal damage
(see, e.g., Nielsen, A. Waite, W., "Epidemiology of Infrequent
Voiding and Associated Symptoms," Scand J Urol Nephrol Supplement
157). UTIs during pregnancy have been associated with low birthweight
babies, who are at risk for additional health problems compared to normal
weight infants (see, Naeye, R.L., "Causes of the Excess Rates of
Perinatal Mortality and the Prematurity in Pregnancies Complicated by
Maternity Urinary Tract Infections," New England J. Medicine 1979;
300(15); 819-823). Medical evidence also shows that health problems,
including constipation, abdominal pain, diverticuli, and hemorrhoids, can
result if individuals delay defecation (see National Institutes of Health
(NJH) Publication No. 95-2754, July 1995).
Not mentioned but also of concern is a negative uro-dynamic syndrome
that happens to people who must often concentrate to avoid wetting
themselves. As their bladder reaches its limit their bladder
neck [sphincter] muscles clamp to avoid leakage. Over time the
muscle strengthens, becomes enlarged and begins to restrict urine flow.
This restriction causes the muscle that empties the bladder [detrusor] to
strengthen and become thick. This thicken bladder wall cannot expand
easily leading to less capacity. After a few years the Jim
Beam's Policy has the potential to actually increase the times their
employees need to urinate.
Fortune Brands is a leading consumer products company.
A policy that results in some employees wearing diapers at one of their
Units is an image most Corporations would avoid.
Advocacy Group or People
Media Coverage of Jim Beam
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