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Restroom Association (Singapore) unveils plans for higher washroom standards on World Toilet Day
At the sixth LOO (Let's Observe Ourselves) Awards ceremony held at the Institute of Technical Education College East to commemorate World Toilet Day, RAS, the Restroom Association (Singapore), introduced a new Happy Toilet six-star rating. The current four and five-star ratings have also been reviewed to meet higher public expectations. The three-star rating remains unchanged.
RAS also laid down plans for next year to initiate a World Toilet Day Fund and World Toilet Day Forum for schools and a 3-year public engagement campaign on clean coffee shop and hawker centre toilets. More details will be made available at a later date.
During the award ceremony, Guest-of-Honour Mr Choi Shing Kwok, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment & Water Resources, presented the LOO Awards to 17 recipients under three key categories, namely Organisation, Cleaning Industry and Individual.
After the award ceremony, RAS President Ms Tan Puay Hoon signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Center for Competency-Based Learning & Development to provide better training on toilet cleaning. This partnership will see participants, for the first time, not only receiving the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications Statement of Attainment but also a Certificate of Attendance by the RAS.
The Happy Toilet Programme was launched by Mr Lim Swee Say, the former Minister for the Environment, in July 2003. It was developed and implemented by RAS with the strong support from the National Environment Agency.
The HTP is a star-grading initiative for public toilets which focuses on five main areas - Design, Cleanliness, Maintenance, Effectiveness and Satisfaction. Users will also leave the toilet happy, as the programme will ensure that they have the best experience, with all their needs met.
The cornerstone of the HTP is a grading system, based on minimum and progressive standards that start at 3 stars and rise to a maximum of 6 stars.
Application is open to all owners of public toilets in Singapore, anytime throughout the year. Once graded, the certification of quality has 12 months' validity. 'Happy Toilets' are promoted through the RAS website so that the public can identify star graded facilities.
3 stars (at least 60 out of 108 points) = Clean Restroom - Facilities in working condition - Provision of basic amenities i.e. hand soap, toilet paper, etc - No odour, litter-free - Reasonably dry floor and facilities - Customer Satisfaction
4 stars (at least 86 out of 108 points) = Good Restroom - Meet all the above-mentioned 3 stars' requirements - Special delights and user-friendly facilities
5 stars (at least 96 out of 108 points) = Premium Restroom - Meet all the above-mentioned 4 stars' requirements - Eco-friendly facilities
6 stars (at least 104 out of 108 points) = Magnificent Restroom - Meet all the above-mentioned 5 stars' requirements - Adoption of technology to increase productivity and efficiency such as automated feedback system, odour monitoring and automated cleaning is required. All cleaning attendants completed the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) module in washroom cleaning.
All efforts made by an organisation and individual in promoting and enhancing the standard of restroom cleanliness are taken into account in the selection of recipients for LOO (Let's Observe Ourselves) Awards, which are open to all organisations and individuals in Singapore.
There are three LOO Awards categories open for nominations: Organisation, Cleaning Industry and Individual.
Organisations are selected in the following categories:
- Private Sector/Public Sector
- Educational Institution
Cleaning Industry is selected in the following categories:
- Cleaning Service Provider
- Restroom Cleaning Attendant
Individuals are selected in the following categories:
- Private/Public sector individual
- Youth (includes members of youth groups, youths in tertiary institutions, secondary and primary school students)
The following categories were not open for nominations:
Best Happy Toilets (selected in the following categories) - Food Court - Market and Food Centre - Shopping Centre - Happy Toilet of the Year
Star Eco-Assessor is selected under the Individual category.
The winners were as follows:
NTUC Foodfare Co-operative - Private Sector - Happy Toilet participation for its coffeeshops and foodcourts since 2009 - First food chain operator to achieve 100% Happy Toilet certification for its coffee shops and foodcourts - Best 5-Star Foodcourt Happy Toilet award for year 2010 and 2013.
Unison Construction Pte - Private Sector - Happy Toilet participation for three of its construction sites since 2013 with 5-star rating for latest construction site - Engaged RAS to provide educational talks and training session to inspect restrooms - Provision of music in shower rooms and modesty boards between urinals
Institute of Technical Education (ITE) - College East - Education Sector - Engaged RAS in its +ACT (Positive Action for the Care of Toilets) campaign for the past 3 years - Organised toilet educational video and poster design competitions for students as part of the 3-year campaign - Commemorated World Toilet Day on 19 November last year by appreciating and recognising cleaning attendants.
Its student leader group organised an educational event in July 2014 with performances and interactive games such as an innovative "toilet song" and "Minute to Win It" game to constantly remind its students the importance of '+ACT'
Unity Primary School - Education Sector - Participated in RAS school education programme and awarded Gold since 2010. In 2013 and 2014, parent volunteers were involved in beautifying its toilets. Its student ambassadors spearheaded a No-Cleaners Day to appreciate and recognise the efforts of cleaning attendants.
CBM Pte - Cleaning Service Provider - Accredited Clean Mark Silver Award by the National Environment Agency - Nominated by National Library Board for maintaining 22 5-star Happy Toilets at the National Library Building - Attended RAS' training on restroom inspection
Mdm Koh Tee Hong (CSP Maintenance Pte) Restroom cleaning attendant: Nominated by ITE College East - 4 years of restroom-cleaning experience = WSQ trained in environmental cleaning - Volunteered to take the extra responsibility of cleaning toilets which were not assigned to her for cleaning and maintenance
Ms Girija Sasiprabha (ISS Facility Services Pte) Restroom cleaning attendant: Restroom attendant of 5-star Happy Toilet at Institute of Mental Health - 4.5 years of restroom-cleaning experience
Ms Gowri D/O M Perumal (ISS Facility Services Pte) Restroom Cleaning Attendant: Restroom attendant of 5-star Happy Toilet at Institute of Mental Health - 5 years of restroom-cleaning experience.
Youth: Ms Khoo Shimin, Ms Chai Xuan Zhu, Ms Cheryl Chua, Ms Yong Kit Yuan (students at Dunman High School) - Raised more than $4,000 for RAS to organise activities to appreciate cleaning attendants - In the midst of their busy Continual Assessment period, the students sacrifice their revision time to organise a fundraising carnival at the United Square shopping mall. They also sold bags at their school to raise more funds.
Mr Jimmy Teo Kian Guan - Star Eco- Assessor (Retiree) - Has checked and assessed more than 100 Happy Toilets since joining as Certified Eco-Assessor in December 2012
BEST HAPPY TOILET
The following toilets under the Happy Toilet Programme were selected for achieving the highest scores in terms of cleanliness, maintenance, effectiveness, user satisfaction, design and bonus features.
The Gallerie - Food Court - 5-Star 90 / 105 (Selected from 21 HTP food courts)
Mayflower Market & Food Centre - Market & Food Centre - 5-Star 95 / 105 (Selected from 51 HTP market & food centres)
Palais Renaissance Level 1 - Shopping Centre - 5-Star 96 / 105 (Selected from 318 Happy Toilets at 38 Shopping Centres)
Republic Plaza Level 1 Arcade - Happy Toilet of the Year - 5-Star 98 / 105 (Selected from 1002 Happy Toilets island wide)
RAS's vision is to build 'A Gracious Society Embracing Excellence in Restroom Culture'. Started in 1998 as a non-profit organisation, RAS is dedicated to building an excellent washroom culture by actively engaging owners, the cleaning industry and users to play their part. Some of its programmes or activities - supported by the National Environment Agency - include the Happy Toilet Programme, Happy Toilet School Education programme for Preschools, STAR (Sustaining Toilets As Restrooms) Awards Programme, Eco-Assessor Programme and LOO (Let's Observe Ourselves) Carnival & Awards.
RAS is a strategic partner in national community events like Clean & Green Singapore and is also a founding member of the World Toilet Organization and the Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement.
Images: President Ms Tan Puay Hoon delivering her welcome address
Guest-of-Honour Mr Choi (back row, fourth from right) and President Ms Tan (beside Guest-of-Honour) with LOO Awards recipients
20th November 2014