The absence of good hand hygiene after using the restroom is one of the leading causes contributing to the spread of illness-causing germs and bacteria in office settings and the classroom.
The Disturbing Truth About Hand Hygiene
Personal responsibility in the form of handwashing practices has a direct impact on health and performance in the classroom and workplace.
Unfortunately, it has been estimated that approximately 95% of adults do not wash their hands properly or long enough, especially after using the restroom, resulting in the spread of common illnesses, including:
- Norovirus, and;
According to The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Absence Management 2011 Annual Survey, 85% of employees are less productive each year because of “minor illnesses” such as the common cold, influenza, and gastrointestinal conditions that spike presenteeism and absenteeism.
Hand hygiene failures lead to the contamination of commonly touched surfaces throughout a facility, typically referred to as fomites, or germ hot spots, resulting in the rapid spread of disease between building occupants.
Prior to the present pandemic state, most U.S. workers reported going into the office sick with a minor illness--presenteeism--resulting in diminished performance.
Research suggests that anywhere from 63% to 83% of employees showed up to work sick on at least one occasion within a year of being polled on this topic.
One-fifth of presenteeism costs are attributable to respiratory infections.
But what’s even more alarming is that presenteeism causes more aggregate productivity loss than absenteeism.
The common cold can also impair an employee’s psychomoto functioning and slow response times in various tasks.
The Cost of Cold & Flu Season
Effectively, cold and flu 'season' in the U.S. runs from October to March, or roughly half the year, taking a relatively large chunk of workforce productivity and classroom attendance with it.
According to Scott Brand, the average cold and flu season:
- Causes 7 to 10 colds per year in adults and between 2 to 5 in children, resulting in;
- More than 189 million missed school days and 150 million lost workdays, costing;
- More than 20 billion dollars to the American economy.
Recommended Facility Cleaning Practices
The primary method of transmission for influenza, norovirus, and rhinovirus is through direct contact with a contaminated surface and then touching your face, eyes, mouth, or nose, underscoring the importance of consistent surface disinfection with a focus on avoiding cross-contamination.
To accomplish this:
- Thoroughly clean all surfaces with microfiber technology and an environmentally preferable product appropriate for the surface and facility type.
- In restrooms and kitchens, employ no-touch spray clean and floor scrubbing systems to deep penetration and bacteria removal while reducing overall labor.
- Disinfect surfaces as required by local regulations, but use an electrostatic disinfection appliance on three-dimensional furniture, gym equipment, and electronic equipment to ensure full surface coverage.
- Make hand hygiene simple by maintaining fully stocked supplies of paper towels, liquid foaming soap, and hand sanitizer stations.
- Keep restrooms or other handwashing stations spotless to encourage good hand hygiene and prevent the unintentional spread of germs and bacteria.
- For extensive, high-traffic facilities, assign day porters to clean according to occupancy and use as opposed to a specific schedule.
- Increase airflow in tightly enclosed facilities to force germ microbes into the HEPA filtration system.
- Provide staff or day porters with disinfectant wipes to sanitize commonly touched surfaces throughout the day in accordance with occupancy and use.
References & Resources
Individual hand hygiene has a direct impact on the health, safety, wellness, and productivity of everyone.
Unfortunately, studies continue to demonstrate that most adults do not wash their hands long enough or thoroughly enough to remove germs and bacteria.
The issue is exacerbated by failing to dry their hands properly as well, resulting in the predictable spread of virulent illness throughout our schools and offices every year, on cue.
While the recent pandemic has taught us a great deal regarding the importance of individual action, the safety of everyone else cannot be left to chance and the adoption of high-performance cleaning and routine disinfection services, especially during a seasonal cold and flu outbreak, must be considered mandatory.
Outsourcing to a seasoned professional will result in desirable outcomes faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than hiring in-house.
Contact us today and discover why Vanguard Cleaning Systems® is the Standard of Clean® for businesses throughout Northwest Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, dial 918-960-4450
In Arkansas, dial 479-717-2410
In Missouri, dial 417-812-9777