Hand hygiene in the workplace 

Hand washing has always been an effective defence against bacteria and viruses.

As businesses work through the coronavirus pandemic, hand hygiene in the workplace is more critical than ever.

The UK government is now planning a gradual return to work in England, with the rest of the UK likely to do the same at some point. So businesses need to consider how they can factor effective hand hygiene into the daily working lives of their employees.

An increased focus on the health and wellbeing of employees will be vital as restrictions are relaxed. We look at how organisations can ensure that hand washing is an every-day part of working life.

The importance of washing your hands properly

Washing your hands properly can protect you from introducing the virus to your system by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your face.

A 2016 workplace survey in America found that employees who were trained in handwashing used 20% fewer sick days.

Current guidelines recommend scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.

The common way to time yourself has been to sing the entire “Happy Birthday“ song twice.

We’ve put together our own video guide on how to wash your hands that you can watch below.

Fusion Occupational Health - How To Wash Your Hands from Clare on Vimeo.

When to wash your hands

To protect yourself and others during the coronavirus pandemic, you should wash your hands:

  • after being in a public place
  • after touching a surface that’s been touched by others
  • before touching your face

You should also wash your hands in the following situations:

  • before during and after cooking or preparing food
  • after treating or caring for another person
  • after using the toilet
  • after caring for animals of any kind
  • after sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing
  • before and after giving first aid to others or yourself
  • before and after eating
  • after handling rubbish or waste

It’s also a good idea to wash your hands and change your clothes when you come home from work.

If you’re following the rights steps (as shown in our video), you shouldn’t need to wash your hands for any more than 20 seconds.

Encouraging people to stick with good hand hygiene

There are a few simple things that you can do to encourage people to get in the habit of washing their hands regularly and thoroughly.

Posters near sinks and basins are a great way to remind people of the basics.

As well as encouraging them to wash and dry their hands correctly, you can also advise them to leave their smartphones behind when visiting the bathroom.

After all, as soon as they pick up their phone after washing their hands, they’re undoing all of that good work.

By employing some simple workplace occupational health initiatives, you can ensure that staff are practising good hand hygiene.

If you’d like to find out more, contact the team at Fusion today.

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Categories: CoronavirusHealth & WellbeingOccupational Health

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