A typical person's hand can carry 10,000 to 10 million bacteria - in a workplace of 100 people, that’s up-to one billion germs on hands alone! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps people can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Separate studies from around the world also show that good hand hygiene practices can reduce illness, worker absenteeism and the associated costs by up-to 40 percent. Everyone knows how important hand washing is to staying healthy and preventing the spread of germs. But are you really doing it properly? In honor of National Handwashing Awareness Week (Dec. 6 – 12), we want to “spread the word, not germs” by sharing correct hand washing techniques.
Removing all dirt and contaminants from the skin is extremely important. However, the correct method of cleaning is also important. Developing a good hand washing technique is imperative to ensure hands are thoroughly clean. You should pay particular attention to the backs of the hands and fingertips as these are frequently missed.
Make sure your hands are wet before dispensing a dose of soap into your cupped hand. For heavily soiled hands, apply the appropriate specialist hand cleanser directly to the skin before wetting. In all cases, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended instructions. To limit sickness and absenteeism in the workplace, we recommend implementing the following hand washing practices:
We recommend rubbing hands together for at least 20 seconds; try humming the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice. Your skin should always be properly dried to avoid risk of chapping, particularly during the winter months. Clean towels should be available at all times – dirty towels mean exposing the skin to more dirt and the risk of infection. Ideally, ‘single issue’ disposable towels should be used as the use of ‘communal’ towels can lead to contamination.
Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick during flu season and throughout the year. It’s also a crucial step to prevent spreading germs from one person to another throughout the workplace and to ultimately creating a healthy and productive work environment.
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