How to Implement Proper Hand Washing and get Back to Business

General B2B

Like many businesses and offices throughout Canada, you too may be planning your return to the office. In making this decision, you must be confident that you can keep yourself and your staff safe. One of the things your employees are owed is the right to feel safe at work. Ensuring that employees are following proper handwashing protocols is essential in reaching this goal.

From an employer’s perspective, ensuring there is satisfactory hygiene in the workplace contributes substantially to morale, first impressions among visitors and reduced absenteeism. These factors contribute to a happy workplace, with fewer employees requiring sick days. The CDC states that proper handwashing reduces illnesses by 21%.

When hand washing is required

After being outside

Whether you’re just arriving at work or home, it’s important to get into the habit of washing your hands straight away. When we go about our morning routines, a lot of our tasks are done so absentmindedly and we may not even be aware of the number of surfaces we come in contact with each day. During a typical commute to work, we may come into contact with railings, card machines, and buttons on elevators or crosswalks. These surfaces harbour germs from a multitude of unwashed hands and when passed onto other people can cause illness.

A great tip to remind employees to disinfect their hands when entering the building is to place signs, hand sanitizer or any visual reminder near entryways to instil this practice into everyone coming and going from the workplace.

After coming in contact with high touchpoints

Similar to the last point, high touch points are everywhere, they include doorknobs, taps, keyboards, handles, railings, desks, light switches etc. Unfortunately, even in the safety of your office risks still exist. There is a high frequency of people touching their eyes, noses and mouths, directly resulting in infections in our eyes and on our skin.

Making it a regular habit to clean high touch points in your office and workstation regularly will help reduce illness and infection associated with people forgetting to disinfect their hands. Also, when you are out in public, carrying around your hand sanitizer will make sure you are protected when there is nowhere to wash your hands.

Before eating

Not washing your hands before eating is a massive sanitary health risk. Of course, we have our antibodies to prevent illnesses but the overuse of these antibodies, “the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world.” according to the CDC.

When we wash out hands before we eat or prepare food for others, we also avoid contracting infections, respiratory illnesses and diarrhea. We recommend downloading the PDF we developed that outlines proper hand washing protocol, to ensure everyone is following ideal practices!

Steps for proper hand washing

Health Canada provided tips for proper handwashing:

Wet hands with warm water

Apply soap, then rub hands palm to palm

Interlock fingers while continuing to lather the soap

Wash nails, fingers and thumbs

Scrub inside and outside of hands

Rinse your hands well

Dry hands using a paper towel or hand dryer

This photo is a 6 step guide for proper hand washing etiquette.

Additional tips to complement satisfactory hand washing practices

The CDC promotes various tips for employers to ensure a happy and healthy workplace.

Employers should promote a positive culture surrounding sick days and the health of their employees. Negative attitudes towards sick days will quickly discourage employees from taking the necessary time off when feeling ill, and may potentially cause severe anxiety regarding taking time off in general. A careless attitude towards employees’ health is a clear sign that their wellbeing isn’t your top priority.

Invest in accessible handwashing stations and hand sanitizer throughout the office. If employees don’t have access to enough soap, towels, hand sanitizer and moisturizer, they’re more likely to forget throughout the day. Without regular visual reminders, a preoccupied person won’t clean their hands nearly as much as they should.

Another great practice in your workspace is opting for hands-free technology when possible. Of course, stay within your budget but some options are automatic doors, foot-pedal trash cans and hand dryers – to name a few.

We want to do anything and everything we can to make sure our community is prepared to return to the office, so we’ve created a step-by-step handwashing guide for your office! Click to download this poster-sized PDF to hang near all your hand washing stations!

Also, click here to view some of our office essentials.

References:

CDC

Initial

Health line

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