People often spend more time at work than at home. Therefore, maintaining good hygiene in the workplace is essential to prevent the spread of germs and reduce the threat of becoming sick. To maintain overall health in the workplace, it is imperative to promote correct hand hygiene.
The proper and timely use of hand soaps and sanitizers is a simple way to ensure better an overall level of hygiene at office. The “consequences” of having proper hygiene at the workplace are: better working atmosphere and increased overall productivity of the employees.
What are the risks of improper hand hygiene?
Unfortunately, there are many cases of people getting ill from using shared bathrooms, regardless of their personal hygienic habits. Many negative health effects can appear from the bacteria and viruses that are commonly found in bathrooms.
Gastrointestinal viruses, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, respiratory organisms and other residual fungi can cause stomach ailments or intensify preexisting allergies and asthma. Employees with bad health conditions are far less productive, even when they decide to come to work.
Another risk is the possibility of spreading their illness to other co-workers. Therefore, hand washing presents a chance to have your say in keeping your own health. It is the first and most basic step towards better personal health condition.
Good hand hygiene improves the overall performance of the companies!
According to several studies, proper and regular hand washing significantly reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea and decreases the occurrence of respiratory illnesses in the general population. And for the companies, hand washing results in fewer employee sick days and higher productivity.
Depending on the type of work, we can use a bunch of different tools and devices in our everyday activities at the office or outside. Computers, mobile phones, hardware devices, printed materials and different tools are essential components for performing our job activities.
When to wash your hands at work
Many people are unaware of the need for maintaining proper hand hygiene in order to prevent the spread of dangerous germs that can cause health problems. Here are few recommendations about when to wash hands while at work:
- Every time after you use the toilet, without exception. A crucial habit, this is an integral part of the process of good upbringing of every human being.
- Before and after meetings where food is served. Another basic healthy habit for preventing health problems.
- After reviewing old printed materials or scanning books or newspapers. These materials are magnets for dust – which can pose serious negative effects on the human skin.
- After using your colleagues’ tools or devices. The keyboards or tablets can retain germs and bacteria – and special attention must be paid if your co-worker has health problems.
- After using shared equipment at the office, like phones, scanners, copiers etc. This shared equipment is the most common source of the massive spread of germs that cause illness of many employees at the office.
How to wash your hands properly
Washing hands is commonly regarded as simple and easy, but it can have no effect if you wash your hands quickly, or without proper use of hand soaps and sanitizers. There are several recommendations for properly washing your hands.
- First of all, you should wet your hands with running water. The water will remove the first layer of bacteria or the visible dirty spots. You can use either warm or cold water, but using warm water has better and more lasting effects. After that, hand soap should be applied (either bar, liquid or powder soap).
- Together with the soap, you should lather your hands and then rub them energetically for around 20 seconds.
- Then you should put your hands under the running water and rinse well, until there are no remains of soap. A key part detail is too often ignored: the need for drying your hands correctly. This can be done with clean towel, special disposable towel or air-dryer.
- At the end, it is recommendable to turn off the faucet by using a disposable towel or with your elbow. This caution measure is important because the faucet at shared facilities may present a source of bacteria and viruses.
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The effects of maintaining high level of workplace hand hygiene
Proper hand washing presents an effective, easy and inexpensive way to avoid the spread of microbes and germs and keep your employees healthy. By promoting these practical tips, the companies will help develop towards better and healthier working environment for their employees.
Having an appropriate hygiene plan at the workplace will undoubtedly bring numerous positive effects to the overall work of the company. A simple “guides and tips” sign on the doors of your facilities or next to the mirror at the toilet can foster your employees to increase their level of personal hygiene.
Free downloadable and printable Hygiene Posters available here.
By promoting these healthy habits, your company will have a double-effect – both on the general health of your employees and on the productivity of your business!