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Is washing hands doing enough to keep your workplace hygienic?

Here in the UK, we lose around 137 million working days every year due to illness or injury. Per person, that’s not a lot, at just four or five days per worker, but it all has an impact on the productivity of our businesses. Minor illnesses such as colds and colds are usually the most common reason for time off, accounting for around 34 million days lost per year.

Coughs and colds are common, but often unnecessarily spread around a group of workers. All too often, it seems that once one person in the office starts sneezing, everyone else will shortly follow. By improving the hygiene in our workplaces, we can reduce the spread of infection and drive down the number of working days lost to these minor illnesses. Here are some ideas:

  1. Actively promote better hygiene

Washing hands regularly is such a simple yet effective way to improve the hygiene of your workplace. Make handwashing a high priority through use of posters and other information as well as by raising the subject of hygiene at staff meetings. Invest in good quality soap and make sure the hand washing areas are pleasant and clean to encourage people to make use of them.

  1. Ensure cleaning is being done well

Shared kitchens and bathrooms are a hotbed for germs and bacteria to accumulate and breed. As much as your cleaner may refresh things every evening, chances are these areas need to be maintained throughout the day too. Ensure people are cleaning up after themselves in these areas, and consider appointing a monitor to check on the hygiene of high priority places throughout the day. At least twice a year, book a professional cleaner to undertake a deep clean to stop hidden dirt from building up.

  1. Encourage staff to take responsibility for their own areas

Provide hand sanitisers and antibacterial wipes, and encourage staff to clean their own desks regularly. Research has found that the average computer mouse contains more than three times the level of bacteria than a toilet flush, so keeping desks and computer equipment clean could really cut down the bugs in your workplace.

  1. Invest in antimicrobial technology

There are plenty of products out there now which are designed to stop the spread of germs fast. Two that we work with extensively are ActiveCoat and Biocote, both of which are supplied in products such as our perforated door lockers. These products help kill microbes on contact, stopping growth of bacteria, mould and viruses to reduce the spread of germs.

  1. Stop the spread

As much as it can be tempting for both the employee and the employer to return to work after an illness as soon as possible, it’s not a good idea. People who have viruses such as sickness and diarrhoea or the flu should stay away from work for 48 hours after symptoms have gone, otherwise they risk spreading it to others. Develop a culture where it is not admired to stagger into work with a streaming cold, rather it is encouraged to stay home to protect others, and perhaps do some work from home if they are feeling up to it.

For more information on improving hygiene at work, such as with the antimicrobial technology included with our perforated door lockers, talk to our expert team today.

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Last Modified / Updated on: June 27, 2018 at 3:50 pm