Washing hands is something we should all do, but some do it more than others. Some don’t do it often enough and in the workplace, all it takes is one person to contaminate surfaces and spread illness. For this reason it is essential to make sure your washrooms are not only clean, well stocked but signage is put in place to remind people.
Washing and drying hands is the most effective way to remove germs
Common sense isn’t it. However, statistically, less than 75% of women and less than 50% of men wash their hands after going to the bathroom.
FACT: 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch
How to improve hygiene standards at work?
There are a number of steps which can be taken to improve hygiene at work, but before we get into that, it’s important to ensure your washroom facilities are well stocked and maintained in order for our tips to have any impact.
Top 3 reasons why hygiene standards slip
- No Soap
- Inadequate hand drying facilities
- Poor Cleaning
No soap – No excuses!
If you go to the toilet, the first thing you should do, is wash your hands but how can you do that if there is no soap! Ensuring a soap dispensers and filled regularly avoids this problem and allows those who clean their hands, to do with soap and freshwater. Tip: Be sure to monitor usage and ensure soap is available at all times, either by your cleaning companies regular visits or by giving staff access to a stocks to refill if they need.
Inadequate hand drying facilities
If the paper towels have all run out or the laundered towels were last laundered last year, hand drying it unlikely to take place. Wet hands spread germs more easily as germs love moist conditions. If you fail to provide basic hand drying facilities and manage cleanliness, how can you expect to improve hygiene standards?
- Hand dryers need to be fully operational and tested regularly
- Hand dryers need to be cleaned and sanitised
- Paper Towels need to be re-stocked regularly
- Laundered Towels need to be exchanged and replaced frequently
Poor cleaning standards
When was the last time your washroom was cleaned? It doesn’t matter how much soap you have, if the sink, taps, handles and surfaces haven’t been cleaned. Contamination to surfaces occurs very easily and unless a regular cleaning schedule is in operation, dirt and germs build up and they can easily travel from surface to hand and out into the office.
What can’t be seen can hurt!
Out of sight, out of mind. Maybe this is the problem. An off-white, stained and dirty towel with a bar of soap which hasn’t been changed for months is an indication of a poorly maintained washroom, but even the clean looking version of this, can be deceiving. If someone in your office comes down with a sickness bug, the chances are, before they take days off to recover, they have already infected hundreds of surfaces in your washrooms and offices.
If every person carried an ultraviolet light and was able to see the conditions of the facilities they use, they would be sure to take extra care in their personal hygiene management.
It is possible to proactively tackle contamination and contain it, in the event of a problem occuring.
Maintain standards and promote good hygiene
OK, so the facilities are clean, the soaps are stocked, the towels are laundered and everything is sorted. Now, why not print a sign and tell staff to take pride in the facilities and to ensure they leave it in the condition they found it. Add a sign, formal or humorous, to remind them to be clean.
"if you sprinkle, when you tinkle, be a sweetie, wipe the seatie'
On the exit door to the bathroom, display a sign which reminds them to wash their hands before returning to work.
It’s a (faecal) matter of perspective
OK, sligh pun there, but the truth of the matter is this. Germs exist, they always have and they always will. Did you know, Humans carry trillions of bacterial cells inside and outside our bodies, which we leave and acquire everywhere. If it was that bad, we would be wiped out as a human race. The average human will not be affected through contact with germs, luckily. Only those with a low immunity are likely to suffer direct contact in most cases.
Just because we don’t get sick, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take responsibility for cleanliness and hygiene standards. In business, it’s all about the perception to staff and visitors and a dirty toilet says something about the company who run the facility. If they can’t be bothered to provide clean facilities, what other corners do they cut in business?