Infection prevention is everyone's responsibility
One of the biggest areas of concern for those of us working within the commercial cleaning industry is the spread of infection.
But who really is responsible for infection control in the workplace?
The cleaning operatives?
The staff and their visitors?
Well the simple answer is EVERYONE! Our management team have a responsibility to make sure that our operatives are appropriately trained to reduce the risk of infection using the correct cleaning products and techniques on site at all times.
That’s why this week we arranged for them to attend the Infection Control Train the Trainer course at our Head Office here in Berkshire. This fast-paced training session was rolled out to help our Account Managers to consistently communicate with their teams, set clear tasks, give proper feedback on all aspects of infection control and share preventative measures. They also learnt how to demonstrate the ability to listen to the needs of their colleagues and provide coach-like guidance when required.
But our Clients and their staff must also share some of the responsibility.
A simple and effective way to do this is to encourage better hand washing practises. This sounds obvious but recent research suggests that only about half of people going to the toilet wash their hands afterwards – and that 11% of us have the same germs on our hands as you’d find in a dirty toilet bowl.
We believe workplaces should encourage their staff, whatever their profession, to keep their hands clean, especially after using the toilet and before consuming food. Just a few simple steps such as having soap in staff washrooms and hand sanitiser available can make a big difference to staff sickness rates. Having a business with healthy staff is key in the ever-changing economic environment.
According to the Global Handwashing Day website although people around the world wash their hands with water, many do not wash their hands with soap at critical moments, including after going to the toilet and before handling or eating food. The challenge is to transform hand-washing with soap from an abstract good idea into an automatic behaviour carried out in homes, schools, workplaces and communities.
Could Hot Desking be to blame?
Hot desking is believed to cut the running costs of an office by up to 30%, making it a popular choice with employers. But some surveys say more than a quarter of companies have reported an increase in staff sickness since it's been introduced.
Given that over half of office-workers still insist on eating lunch at their desks, it’s perhaps unsurprising that keyboards can be a breeding ground for germs. A study in 2014 found that the average office keyboard, along with the mouse and phone, can contain as many as 10 million bacteria – some of which are harmful and can cause illness.
However, at WORKPLACE, we believe this can be greatly reduced by simply introducing best practice which requires each employ to wipe the workstation down with an antibacterial wipe after each use. Please feel free to contact our Help Desk for more information.
And it’s not just offices!
According to a study carried out by the American Journal of Infection Control, ‘The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitiser in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8% among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students.’
This simple act of washing your hands could save more lives than any vaccine or medical intervention, preventing the spread of infection and keeping children in school and employees in their place of work.
Hopefully we can also motivate our clients to embrace and share proper hand-washing practices learned at the workplace back into their homes and communities.