Hand gels may reduce workplace absence

The regular use of alcohol-based sanitising hand gels can reduce workplace absence, new research argues.

The study of 129 people, published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, found that incidences of absenteeism because of colds, diarrhoea and coughs were significantly reduced when alcohol-based hand disinfectants were used by employees.

It also concluded there had been a reduction in symptoms of illness during times when participants were not absent from work, suggesting that hand disinfectant use may improve overall productivity.

The study split the participants into two groups, with a control group being told to carry on their normal hand-washing behaviour, while the other group were given hand disinfectant and told to use it at least five times each working day, especially after activities such as nose-blowing or going to the lavatory.

Lead author Nils-Olaf Hübner, of the German Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, concluded: “Hand disinfection can easily be introduced and maintained as part of daily hand hygiene, acting as an interesting and cost-efficient method of improving workforce health and effectiveness.”

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