Handwashing is a crucial aspect of personal hygiene that helps reduce the spread of germs and illnesses.
It is important to wash your hands regularly, particularly after using the restroom, before eating, after handling garbage, and after being in contact with someone sick.
National Handwashing Awareness Week is observed the first week of December every year, and it is a great time to spread awareness about hand hygiene and prevent the spread of disease.
According to the CDC, proper handwashing helps reduce:
- The number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23-40%
- Respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%
Recognizing the importance of handwashing in the workplace is crucial, as it serves as a preventative measure against the spread of infectious diseases, promoting a healthier and more productive environment.
For this reason, it should be a top priority for both employers and employees to participate in and promote proper hand hygiene practices.
How to Achieve Proper Hand Hygiene
The CDC recommends certain guidance for proper hand hygiene to avoid getting sick and spreading illnesses:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.
- Lather all surfaces of your hands with soap, including the back of your hand, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Sing a song for 20 seconds, if that helps.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.
Importance of Proper Hand Hygiene
1. Preventing the Spread of Illness
In the workplace, we are in close proximity to our colleagues, and it is easy for germs to spread quickly.
Employers and employees should prioritize hand hygiene to prevent the spread of illness in the workplace.
Regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds should be encouraged, particularly during flu season or other contagious illnesses.
2. Promoting a Healthy and Safe Work Environment
When employees practice proper hand hygiene, it promotes a healthy and safe work environment.
Practicing proper hand hygiene can help increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, and improve morale.
Employees must understand that their personal hygiene habits can affect the entire workplace, and practicing good hand hygiene is essential in maintaining a clean and safe work environment.
3. Following Regulations
Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for their employees.
Hand hygiene is regulated in some industries, such as healthcare, food service, and childcare, and non-compliance can jeopardize the health of patients, customers, or children.
Employers in these industries must ensure that their employees are trained in proper hand hygiene techniques and have access to soap, water, and hand sanitizers.
Hand Hygiene Education & Encouragement
Employers should educate their employees on the importance of hand hygiene and provide adequate training in proper handwashing techniques.
Organizing awareness programs, posting educational material in restrooms, and sending regular emails or bulletins can help reinforce the message.
Hand hygiene should also be part of the organization’s overall safety policies and protocols.
Encouraging a Culture of Hygiene
Employers should lead by example and promote a culture of hygiene in the workplace.
Providing hand sanitizers in common areas, encouraging employees to stay home when sick, and disinfecting commonly used surfaces can all help promote good hand hygiene practices.
Employers can also encourage their employees to raise concerns about hygiene and take responsibility for keeping the workplace clean and safe.
National Handwashing Awareness Week provides an excellent opportunity for employers and employees to reflect on the importance of hand hygiene in maintaining a healthy and safe work environment.
Proper handwashing techniques can help prevent illness, reduce absenteeism, and improve morale.
Employers should ensure that they comply with regulations and provide adequate training and education on hand hygiene.
Encouraging a culture of hygiene in the workplace can benefit everyone and promote a culture of safety.
Axiom Medical is here to guide you with various resources and education. With over 20 years of experience managing workplace injuries and illnesses, we are dedicated to aiding you in establishing a cleaner, safer, and healthier work environment.
At Axiom, your well-being is our top priority. Let’s make hand hygiene our armor in the fight against illnesses and infectious diseases. Check out our handwashing how-to video for more helpful information to share with your workplace.
Charli Pedersen works for Axiom Medical as their Content Marketing Specialist. She has her bachelor’s degree in English, Professional and Technical Writing and previous experience with creating content for businesses and non-profit organizations.