Last week’s blog discussed the ways in which business owners could make small changes to their workplace in order to counteract the spread of germs and bacteria, to prevent members of staff from getting unwell. As a result, it also alarmingly drew attention to the fact that one third of adults do not wash their hands after going to the toilet- and this is men and women equally, no gender is innocent!
The importance of washing hands during the day, including after using the toilet, cannot be understated. However, with the advancements in hand washing products and soaps, it’s sometimes hard to know which product to choose for your organisation or home. Additionally, hand sanitising solutions have become increasingly popular in recent years. This has developed to such as an extent, that now when you’re visiting someone in hospital, they expect you to sanitise your hands before you enter your ward. So, hand washing with soap and water, or regular use of hand sanitising solutions- which is the best way?
In this month’s Cleaning and Maintenance magazine, an interview with Richard Millard, senior segment marketing manager at Kimberly- Clark Professional, discussed this issue. As Kimberly-Clark are one of the most high-profile suppliers of cleaning products in the industry, it’s safe to say that the recommendations of Richard Millard are worthy of note. The below comments are based on his comments in this interview.
It is safe to say that hand washing and hand sanitisers both have their place in the daily hand cleaning routine. Soap and water is probably the most common, and readily-available method of hand washing in the workplace and in the home; it’s the method that we’re all familiar with. If the hands are washed thoroughly using this method, with an antibacterial soap, then any germs and bacteria can be removed from the hands completely.
There are also occasions when the opposite is true, and that there are no hand washing facilities, soap or water available to you. Regular festival-goers will know the water facilities, and general cleanliness at these places is at an all-time low- even if it is just for a weekend. There, a quick and generous dab of hand-sanitiser is the best wash you’d get for the duration of the festival, and the only hygienic option available to you.
It could also be argued that in areas where there are extremely high volumes of people in small spaces- typically public transport, smaller work spaces,nightclubs, bars and gyms, hand sanitiser is the most appropriate choice. It is because in these places, there is a likelihood that people’s hands will come into close contact, so sanitisers may be a sensible thing to consider here. This isn’t to suggest that everyone should become overly-concerned with selecting an appropriate hand-washing routine, but this is just something to consider at this time of year, flu and colds are particularly common, and easily passed around in these places.
The article suggested that on occasions such as these, hand sanitising solutions may be the most appropriate way forward. It does assert, however, that these products should ideally be used as an accompaniment to other methods, rather than a replacement; hand sanitisers will never be the preferred alternative to correct hand-washing. This is because sanitisers only clean the bacteria on the surface, and are not effective at destroying high levels of contamination.
It would be advised, and is practised in a number of industries and organisations, that if your workplace requires extremely high levels of hand hygiene, that a combination of both methods would be extremely effective. Washing the hands with antibacterial soap and very hot water, drying them with a disposable hand towel, and then sanitising the hands afterwards, will ensure that the bacteria is removed from the hands, and that any remaining will be killed. This is especially essential in areas such as hospitals or care homes, where a strictly-implemented hand washing routing can drastically effect patients’ welfare.
In the interview, Richard Millard does stress that in the workplace, the way to determine the correct hygiene policy, is by making an assessment of your site, and determining what may be the best option. What chemicals or products are being dealt with on a daily basis? Is there anyone who may be at risk if hand hygiene levels are not correct, and are there chances of contamination if this were to happen?
At Newlife Cleaning Systems, we ensure that our cleaning operatives and other members of staff, are fully up-to-date on the correct hygiene practices depending on the environment in which they work. We are responsible for the execution of a range of specialist cleaning services, which require that our levels of hygiene are nothing other than impeccable, and that is something we consistently strive to improve and maintain. For services such as hospital cleaning, or when we implement a kitchen deep clean, the entire process would be ruined, and could pose a great cost to our client, if correct hand hygiene procedures are not followed. For more information about how we make hygiene our number one priority, please don’t hesitate to contact us.