Hand washingInfections can spread from an office door handle to half of the workforce in just two hours. At work, we’re constantly touching buttons for lifts, our keyboards or telephones. It’s a common misconception to think that it’s just coughing and sneezing that spread the most dangerous germs. However, as you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you begin to accumulate a multitude of harmful germs on your hands. You can even infect yourself with these germs before any of your other colleagues, by just touching your eyes, nose or mouth!

It’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, but washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes. Hand-washing only requires soap and water, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how important hand-washing is. The leading washroom specialists CNM Online have provided some important hand washing tips to help you stay clean and healthy in the workplace :

1. When should I wash my hands?

  • When hands are visibly unclean.
  • After using the washroom.
  • After blowing your nose or after sneezing into your hands.
  • Before and after eating, handling food, drinking or smoking.
  • After touching raw meat, poultry, or fish.
  • After handling rubbish.
  • When visiting or caring for sick people.
  • Handling pets, animals or animal waste.

2. How do I properly wash my hands?

  • Remove any rings or other jewellery.
  • Use water and wet your hands thoroughly.
  • Use soap (1-3 ml) and lather well.
  • Scrub your hands, between your fingers, wrists, and forearms with soap for approx 15 seconds.
  • Scrub under your nails.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Dry your hands with a single use paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Turn off the taps with a paper towel.
  • Protect your hands from touching dirty surfaces as you leave the bathroom.

When no soap or water is available, one alternative is to use waterless hand scrubs. They are often available as a rinse, or on wipes or small towelettes. These agents are not effective when the hands are heavily contaminated with dirt, blood, or other organic materials, but can be useful to use under the correct circumstances.

With our increasing reliance on technology we are constantly touching, pressing and holding more surfaces than ever before. The sooner we begin to consider washing our hands more thoroughly, the lesser germs and illnesses will spread.