Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we all lived in relatively ignorant bliss around hand hygiene. We knew the importance of washing our hands after using the bathroom or touching food – but we gave little thought to the other pathogens present on our hands and even less thought to the germs living on surfaces throughout our homes, workplaces and wider environment.
Now that we’re alert to the behaviour of viruses, it’s clear that workplace environments are the perfect places for these germs to spread. Every time your employees use their hands – to pick up a pen, to file a report, to shake hands with a client or to open a door – there is potential for virus particles to transfer to another person, whether directly from hand to hand, or indirectly via a hard surface. One of the most important things employers can do to prevent the spread of illness in the workplace is to ensure people have facilities to sanitize their hands regularly, particularly at strategic contact points.
This is much more than good washroom facilities – in fact, research shows that away from the critical gaze of their peers, up to 50% of people don’t wash their hands after using the restroom at all. ‘Washroom germs’ – the kind that cause stomach upsets – account for a smaller percentage of workplace sickness than viruses, which cause coughs and colds that cost the Canadian economy around US$40 billion each year.
Only 39% of people say they wash their hands after coughing or sneezing – and in the wake of a viral pandemic, this is significant. Due to increased workloads and the stigma of taking time off, most people continue going to work even when they are sick. If you’re coughing and sneezing all day long at your desk, it’s just not convenient to rush off to the bathroom every 5 minutes to wash your hands.
So, what’s the solution? At Frontline, we believe that portable hand sanitizer stations are an ideal fix. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC, hand sanitizer is one of the best tools available to prevent the spread of germs. By placing hand sanitizer in strategic locations throughout the office, and other high traffic areas, you can encourage employees to improve their hand hygiene and make the office a healthier working environment.
It’s worth noting that hand sanitizer is not a substitute for soap and water – it’s not effective against some illness-causing bacteria, including norovirus, and it won’t remove physical dirt or contaminants from the skin. But as an alternative – especially for those that find hand washing a chore – hand sanitizer has real value.
Frontline’s hand sanitizing stations offer the opportunity to install freestanding, germ busting facilities anywhere in the workplace, but for best results, it’s advisable to place them strategically where people have a lot of contact with surfaces, other people, or food. Here are some examples:
Entrances and exits
Door furniture is a hotbed of germ activity so it’s wise to place sanitizer at the main entrance and exit doorways to your building, as well as key internal doorways – for example, the entrance to restrooms, and shared meeting rooms.
Elevators and touch screens
Elevator buttons and keypads or touch screens provide lots of crevices for germs to hide, even when they are cleaned regularly. Placing sanitizer on a stand right next to these facilities reduces the likelihood of contamination in the first place.
Cafeterias, kitchens and break rooms
Hand hygiene is essential anywhere that food is prepared or consumed – although food handlers should not rely on this alone to prevent contamination. Shared kitchen facilities and break rooms are shown to be some of the most germ-ridden places in any workplace so as well as upping the ante on cleaning, having a hand sanitizer station located here can further minimise the risk of illness.
Bringing people together from around your building or even from other organisations, the boardroom is a high-risk environment when it comes to spreading germs. Place a hand sanitizer station outside the door – or better still, next to the table – to get your meetings off to a safe and clean start!
For more information on Frontline’s sanitizer stands, visit www.frontline-na.com