Promoting Workplace Safety With Hand Hygiene

Promoting Workplace Safety With Hand Hygiene

The last few years have underscored the criticality of promoting workplace health and safety through high-outcome cleaning and hand hygiene programs.

Promoting Workplace Safety With Hand Hygiene

The Need for Good Hand Hygiene in Public Facilities

It is well documented that humans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors.

Most of that time is split between home, work, and the classroom.

The primary routes of pathogen transmission are:

  • Touch; person-to-person.
  • Contaminated bodily fluid, including blood.
  • Saliva.
  • Air.
  • Food.
  • Water.
  • Insects, and;
  • Fomites; non-living objects where organisms, including germs and bacteria, can live outside of a host.

The five most contagious illnesses in humans are almost exclusively spread via touch or fomites--direct and indirect contact.

  • The common cold.
  • Influenza.
  • Viral gastroenteritis, including rotavirus and norovirus.
  • Conjunctivitis, and;
  • Strep throat.

Proper hand hygiene could eliminate much of the transmission.

However, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, humans have an awful handwashing record worldwide.

Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands.

Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively.

Estimated global rates of handwashing after using the toilet are only 19%.

Show Me the Science - Why Wash Your Hands?

Educating facility occupants, especially students, regarding the critical nature of proper handwashing can break the chain of infection and arrest the ongoing trend of increasing classroom abscesses and workplace illness.

Effective handwashing prevents the spread of infection and disease.

Germs that populate unwashed hands can make us sick by easily entering our body after touching our eyes, nose and mouth.

These germs can also be transferred to food and drinks for our consumption and other high-touch areas like; doorknobs, elevator buttons, desks, computer keyboards, handrails, and the list goes on and on.

Handwashing with soap after using the restroom or when you have come in contact with raw meat can greatly reduce the risk of diarrhea and respiratory diseases like adenovirus.

Proper handwashing education decreases absenteeism in school children and employees in the workplace.

Teaching your building occupants and stakeholders the importance of good hand hygiene should be underscored given the mentioned risks and potential consequences.

Promoting Quality & Safety in the Workplace with Healthy Hand Hygiene


Simple Hand Hygiene Best Practices

When teaching hand hygiene best practices or implementing processes to encourage better handwashing, focus on simplicity.

When occupants wash their hands:

  1. Wash your hands, top and bottom, with soap and clean running water for a minimum of twenty seconds.
  2. Dry your hands with a clean paper towel.
  3. Apply hand sanitizer after exiting the restroom or sanitation station.

To encourage better handwashing habits among facility occupants:

  • Ensure all sanitation stations and restrooms are fully supplied with soap and paper towels.
  • Ensure all sink fixtures are functioning properly.
  • Maintain high levels of facility cleanliness and surface hygiene in and around restrooms and handwashing stations.
  • Place hand sanitizer at restroom exits, building entrances, receptionist counters, and near all high-touch surfaces, and;
  • Place paper towels near restroom exits.


Addressing the Hand Hygiene Gap

Hand hygiene compliance is pretty hit or miss, and it only takes one person to spread a contagious disease throughout a facility in just a few hours.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes no disinfectant product as having residual efficacy against pathogens on surfaces.

That means that immediately after a surface is disinfected, once it is touched by a person, it should be considered, technically, recontaminated, underscoring the importance of ongoing day porter services to wipe down fomites.

Additionally, areas such as restrooms and anywhere food is prepared or consumed should be cleaned with a commercial-grade, soap-based detergent, top to bottom, once per day, and touched up throughout the day as necessary.


References & Resources



Promoting hand hygiene in public facilities remains the most crucial component of ensuring occupant health and safety.

Unfortunately, occupant compliance cannot be relied upon, and increased diligence in the form of routine fomite decontamination and enhanced facility cleaning services are called for.

For many organizations, onboarding the requisite resources--labor, tools, and products--will likely prove cost-prohibitive.

Outsourcing is a proven method for onboarding highly in-demand cleaning and disinfection services and experience for a fraction of the price of maintaining a similar service in-house.

If you would like more information regarding the effectiveness of high-performance infection prevention and control measures, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation on-site assessment of your facility's custodial needs, contact us today for a free quote!

In Bakersfield, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Fresno, CA, call (559) 206-1059

In Valencia, CA, or Santa Clarita, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Palmdale, CA, or Lancaster, CA, call (661) 371-4756