Workplaces should wash their hands of infections

Published on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 15:11
Written by Scott Buckler

Hand sanitisers are now found in all types of workplaces and have become one of the fastest selling products in workplace equipment supplier Slingsby's 35,000 product range which comes as no surprise after research revealed a quarter of people in the UK have faecal bacteria on their hands!

The research carried out by hygiene experts from Queen Mary, University of London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found faecal bacteria on 26% of hands, 14% of banknotes and 10% of credit cards in the UK. They also discovered that 11% of hands are so contaminated they carry as many germs as a dirty toilet.

Lee Wright, Marketing Director at Slingsby, said: "This research is shocking and although it might seem a trivial subject, not washing hands can have serious consequences. According to the UN hand washing could save a million lives a year globally and is the most cost-effective intervention to prevent the spread of disease. Even during the London Olympics the Team GB athletes were famously warned not to shake hands during the games to prevent spreading germs and bugs on hands that could hinder their chances of success.

"A big problem is that too many people simply aren't washing their hands properly. A quick splash of water isn't adequate. Soap should always be used, the backs of the hands are as important as the fronts and it's vital that they are thoroughly dried. In most cases paper towels are particularly good because germs can thrive on cloth towels."

Finally Lee says: "Thankfully most workplaces recognise that poor hygiene spreads infections and increases employee absence levels and they are taking steps to tackle the problem. This usually means setting a good example by providing quality hand washing facilities as well as hand gels and even personal sanitisers that people carry with them, which is especially important in highly populated environments. Signs in bathrooms reminding people about the importance of washing their hands are also proven to improve hygiene."

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