Despite widespread knowledge of the importance of handwashing, there is still room for improvement. According to the CDC or Center for Disease Control, a recent study showed that only 31% of men and 65% of women washed their hands after using a public restroom. With winter just around the corner, it’s even more important to practice good handwashing and encourage associates to wash their hands while they’re at work. This helps prevent germs from spreading and keeps your entire office getting sick. Here are some best practices for handwashing and encouraging handwashing in the workplace.
Encourage associates to follow the 5-step handwashing process.
There are five basic steps that should be followed and none of them should be skipped:
- Wet – get your hands properly wet.
- Lather – pump enough soap into your hands so it can form a lather
- Scrub – rub your hands together firmly with good scrubbing motion
- Rinse – rinse all soap off
- Dry – wipe your hands with paper towel or blow completely dry with an air dryer.
The last step, drying, is more important and needs more emphasis than it may have gotten in the past. If you walk out of the restroom with semi wet hands, it provides an opportunity for bacteria to linger and spread from your hands to other surfaces.
Hang signs in the restrooms encouraging associates to scrub for at least 20 seconds:
The CDC recommends that if you hum the Happy Birthday song twice while washing your hands, you’ll wash for the perfect amount of time to kill the most germs. Most of us take the shortest amount of time possible and on we go, but spend some extra time making sure you’ve got all those little microscopic germs cleaned off. A couple of signs mentioning this above the sinks, will help remind the patrons to keep on scrubbing!
Don’t keep sanitizer in the office bathroom.
Lots of companies will keep hand sanitizer readily available in the office, which can go a long way towards preventing the spread of disease. However, this causes many people substitute sanitizer for handwashing. Studies are now showing that hand sanitizer is not as effective at killing germs as handwashing. This can be especially problematic when companies keep hand sanitizer in their restrooms. The easiest solution? Just take the sanitizer out of the bathrooms – this gives staff just one option: wash their hands.
Taken together, all of these tips will help keep your employees healthy, and teach them best practices to take home too. Healthier employees are absent less, and are more productive. Try these tips this winter season and watch for positive results.