Fighting sickness and ill health starts with fighting infections. The workplace can be a paradise for various bugs, bacteria and viruses, with people bringing germs into the premises every day. We’re literally bombarded by bacteria every day at work. Thankfully, there are some easy ways we can all make improvements to workplace hygiene.
Businesses that work with food, vulnerable people or in the medical industry will no doubt have industry guidance on their cleaning processes and products they should use, but for regular businesses, there is a real lack of information out there. But maintaining good hygiene doesn’t need to be hard work; simply taking care of cleanliness and thinking before you act can go a long way to improving the situation.
Top tips for better workplace hygiene
Here are some easy ways to improve the hygiene in your workplace:
- Have a simple infection control plan: This could just be a cleaning rota, or may be more involved, depending on the nature of your business. By scheduling cleaning times throughout the year, as well as having a plan in place if something happens which could compromise hygiene, you’ll be prepared for all eventualities.
- Provide cleaning materials: Have some basic cleaning materials on hand, just to keep on top of things in between the professional clean.
- Encourage good hygiene: Place reminders for hand washing and other good hygiene practices in locations like kitchens and bathrooms. Remind staff not to eat at their desk, and not to leave dirty cups, plates and wrappers lying around.
- Provide hand washing facilities: These sorts of facilities go without saying, and are part of your overall health and safety responsibilities. But just providing a sink is not enough. Think about soap or hand scrub and a facility to dry hands near the sink as well.
- Provide tissues: Having a few conveniently scattered boxes of tissues around will encourage people to blow noses and catch sneezes instead of just sharing it around.
- Allow sick days: Pressuring people to come into work when they are genuinely ill will only serve to compromise the health of the other people in the building. By promoting a culture that encourages people to stay home when they are sick, you’ll be less likely to have the bug go around the whole workforce.
Make sure your workforce understands your views on issues like sick days and maintaining a hygienic workplace. Putting a section in the new starters guide or welcome pack can be a good way to build this into your workplace culture.
Products that can help
A specialist business, such as those working in sterile environments or those handling hazardous materials, will have specialist hygiene needs. However, for the majority of businesses, the things we need to buy to stay clean and hygienic at work are inexpensive and minimal.
Hand wash and disinfectants
A good disinfectant hand wash is a great way to beat the bugs at work. If you’re serious about hygiene, it’s worth investing in a proper hand scrub, such as is used in hospitals and medical situations. Our Bioguard hand scrub is recommended for healthcare and dental hand prep and as a hospital hand wash. It conforms to British and European Standards BSEN1276 and is effective against thousands of viruses, bacteria, mycobacterium and spores.
Also in the same range, our Bioguard disinfectant spray is similarly suitable for use in sterile environments. It can be used on floors, walls, work surfaces and even on skin and clothing. It won’t damage your carpet or paintwork, but will tackle the bacteria and viruses on it, creating a more hygienic workplace.
Wipes and towels
Having towels and wet wipes to hand can make it easier to clean up unexpected spills, and to maintain good hygiene throughout the building. Our hand towel rolls are ideal for the bathroom as a hand drying solution, and they don’t spread germs around in the way an air hand dryer does. The product comes in a larger roll too, so if you use a couch or have an inspection bed in your sick room, you can ensure each person gets a clean, hygienic surface to sit on.
For cleaning food prep surfaces, desks, equipment and even hands and faces, the Bioguard light duty wipes are a good choice. Available in either a drum of pull off sheets or in handy individual sachets, they use the same hygiene technology as their sprays and hand scrub, eliminating thousands of types of bugs and bacteria.
For some office equipment, particularly monitors and laptop screens, you need a gentler wipe. The Office and VDU Cleaning Wipes are suitable for use on these and more and are particularly popular for cleaning up telephones and headsets, which can become riddled with germs.
Having disposable gloves in the workplace can make certain jobs much safer and more hygienic. If you’re dealing with other people, such as the elderly, children or patients in a medical setting, you’ll definitely need plenty of gloves. But even if you work in an office, retail business or similar enterprise, gloves can be beneficial in preventing the spread of germs and viruses amongst frequently touched surfaces.
There are many types of gloves to choose from:
- Latex gloves: These are biodegradable disposable gloves which are comfortable and tactile to use. They can cause allergic reactions in some people.
- Neoprene: These are best for use against acids, chemicals and other hazardous substances. They can be latex free to avoid allergic reactions. Not as easy to feel through as latex though.
- Nitrile gloves: These are thin but very strong gloves, which are chemically resistant and puncture resistant. They offer more sensitivity than neoprene, and can be supplied in a latex free format.
- Polythene: Latex free, so a good choice for sensitive skin, these are very thin and tactile, but have a looser fit than latex, nitrile and vinyl.
- Vinyl: These are also latex free, and come in thick or thin varieties. They fit looser than nitrile and latex but tighter than polythene.
Most of these options are available in either powdered or non-powdered types. Powdered gloves are much easier to put on, and tend to be more resistant to tearing or ripping. However, if you work in a food preparation area, powder free is preferable because there is no risk of the powder contaminating the food.
Social Distancing Products
Incorporating social distancing products into the workplace can also help in keeping individuals safeguarded against the spread of infection. Maintaining the government recommended 2 meters distance between staff and customers can aid the fight against viruses. Items such as the following have been designed to help social distancing in busy environments.
- Social Distancing Floor Markers: Floor stickers placed on flooring in and around the premises can help people identify and maintain a 2 meter distance from others. These can be utilised in shops, offices and other locations where there are a high number of individuals.
- Signage/Literature: It is also beneficial to place signs, notices and posters relating to health and safety practices that can help reduce the spread of viruses. This alerts individuals to potential dangers and serve as reminders on how to conduct yourself within a public space to aid in eliminating the virus.
- Protective Screens: Installing protective screens in retail settings can also provide protection against the transmission of germs and viruses from employee to customer. They can also be used within offices and other businesses to help reduce the risk of passing the virus to colleagues and other members of staff.
For more information on how our products can help improve hygiene and reduce the spread of bacteria in the workplace, get in touch and one of our advisors will assist you in choosing the right supplies for your premises.