From the recent media coverage, we are all aware of the advice from the Health Protection Agency that to prevent the spread of flu we should maintain good basic hand hygiene as well as clean hard surfaces.
But are we actually following this advice and doing enough to prevent the spread of flu in the workplace?
Studies show that people do not wash their hands frequently or adequately enough; the average person washes their hands for around 9 seconds and only 16% wash their hands at the recommended time periods.
In addition, separate washroom studies from around the world show that less than 80% of people wash their hands at all which means that 1 in every 5 is walking around with unwashed hands.
It is known that enclosed environments, where people are working or interacting in close proximity with one another, whether in a workplace, public facility or leisure environment are at a higher risk of the spread of germs; particularly those who deal with the public, handle money and regularly commute on public transport.
So, for any organisation implementing and maintaining appropriate hand hygiene practices is going to be a daily challenge as there are inconsistent hand hygiene habits across the population.
For organisations that value business continuity and particularly those where the absence of a key person is critical to operational efficiency, what can be done to educate the importance of adopting good hand hygiene practices?
Organisations can encourage good hand hygiene practice by providing easy-to-understand education and awareness materials such as posters, stickers for use in the washrooms, on floors, mirrors and doors.
With modern day substrates, such as removable wall vinyls, stickers can be used and replaced without leaving any residue on walls, floors or mirrors.
Christine Mottershead, Marketing Director at Deb advises: “As well as providing support materials, organisations can work with their washroom services suppliers to create a communications campaign to educate the importance of adopting good hand hygiene practices. Companies like Deb offer support and advice through marketing materials and information on hand hygiene and has launched a suite of new educational posters for a wide range of establishments which are available to download free from Deb’s website.”
“Studies show that organisations can reduce the risk of spreading germs by adopting good hand hygiene practices, providing adequate hand washing facilities and through promoting the use of a hand sanitiser applied regularly to clean, dry hands to complement routine hand washing.”
With the ‘flu season fast approaching, it has never been a more important time to follow the advice from the Health Protection Agency and prevent the spread of ‘flu by simply washing our hands!