How To Practise Good Workplace Hygiene during COVID-19
As we know, during this time, health and safety, workplace hygiene and overall employee protection is critical. Therefore, if you are a business that cannot carry out work from home, it is essential to understand what you need to do to improve your company’s workplace hygiene and ensure your workspace meets government health and safety guidelines.
Employers and employees alike are concerned about how the virus may spread through the workplace. But, this is understandable with workplaces being identified as places where germs are shared. Bacteria and viruses can quickly spread from one person to the next – from food poisoning bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli to infections like the common cold and flu. Now, with the added risk of coronavirus (COVID-19), good workplace hygiene has never been more crucial.
What Can Employers Do To Ensure Good Workplace Hygiene?
Employers are bound by the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) to protect the health & safety of employees and others. This duty includes ensuring that workplaces are hygienic and safe. Otherwise, bacteria and virus can readily develop in unhygienic environments. Therefore, employers who don’t pay attention to best practice hygiene put their employees, customers and visitors at risk of infection or contamination. Consequently, now more than ever, ramping up your cleaning regime couldn’t more important.
But, understandably, individual workplaces will have different hygiene requirements. Specific tasks or industries may also create risks that require additional protection. However, in this blog, we shall be discussing some of the critical areas that all workplaces should consider in their efforts to increase their workplace hygiene.
Protect Your Employees & Restrict Contamination and Infection
It will come as no surprise that a regular cleaning routine is one of the most effective, and one of the most straightforward ways to improve workplace hygiene. Not only will this help restrict the spread coronavirus, but it will show others your levels of professionalism and care for your employees.
1. Promote Personal Hygiene
Employees should look after their individual work areas. Work surfaces should be cleaned with an appropriate solution to reduce the possibility of bacterial or viral infection. Therefore, all employees should be encouraged to exercise their own personal hygiene. They should be reminded of the importance of washing and use of hand sanitisers. Employers can easily promote these habits through:
- Telling workers to clean up after themselves.
- Wiping down workstation regularly, and at the end of the day.
- Encourage workers to wash bottles, mugs and cups after every use. Or alternatively, promote disposable options, that can be thrown away after use.
- Use hygiene product at regular intervals.
- Reminding employees to not leave the toilet without washing their hands.
By introducing these measure, personal cleanliness can contribute to the whole workspace being a healthier environment.
2. Keep Food Preparation Areas Clean
One of the biggest threats to spreading a virus is kitchens spaces. Kitchens areas pose a health risk if high cleanliness standards are not maintained. Therefore, areas used for preparing food or drinks should be kept carefully clean, as should utensils and crockery, and appliances such as fridges, microwaves and toasters.
It is also wise to advise employees to prepare their food before coming to work to remove the possibility of using shared kitchen spaces. However, if this cannot be avoided, appropriate measures should be upheld. Such as, make sure to involve employees in a collective responsibility to clean as they go.
3. Maintain A Clean Restroom
Maintaining a clean restroom is key to good workplace hygiene as these are one of the main epicentres from which germs can spread.
Employers should make sure that restrooms are well stocked with soap, toilet paper and hand-drying equipment. Plus, where possible, wipes and hand sanitiser. Experts consider soap and water to be more effective than hand sanitiser, but if not available, hand sanitisers with an alcohol content of at least 60% are an ideal alternative.
Moreover, proper hand-drying is crucial as wet skin helps to spread bacteria. Research suggests that paper towels are more effective as they dry hands more quickly, remove more bacteria and are less likely to lead to cross-contamination.
4. Create A Clear Hygiene Policy
To ensure everyone is involved in maintaining a clean and healthy working environment, staff should be provided with a written hygiene policy. This policy should outline your intentions, the control measures you are taking as an organisation to keep people safe, your expectations of cleanliness, and the role workers play in maintaining high standards.
Workplace hygiene policies should also provide for each employee to clean and maintain their work area. The procedure should include regular cleaning of surfaces with disinfectant. Ultimately, sensible hygiene policies backed up by regular internal communication will make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities. Remember, employees who understand why having a hygienic workplace is so important are much more likely to follow your policy guidelines for a clean and safe work environment.
5. Target Germs
Micro-organisms don’t usually multiply on surfaces without help. They rely on people moving around and transferring them from one surface to the next. To fight against this, you’ll need to pay particular attention to “hotspots”. This refers to the most frequently-touched workplace surface areas, such as railings, door handles and work equipment.
Before touching equipment, especially equipment that is shared, workers should use a hand sanitiser. Also, keep a pack of antimicrobial wipes handy to banish bacteria and viruses. Therefore, if time is taken to clean the equipment after use, this can result in fewer people falling ill, and may even save lives.
Here At Eastpac, We Can Help Employers
COVID-19 is the most significant health and safety challenge most employers will have ever had to face. But, here at Eastpac, we’re helping businesses put in place appropriate measures. From advising on workplace hygiene to offer numerous products to help promote good workplace hygiene.
Our range includes masks, screen guards and hand sanitiser stations. All of which can help employers offer a safe working environment for the employee, if they are at work now, or are planning on coming back soon.
If you are interested in enhancing the hygiene of your workplace to accommodate government standards, visit our online shop to purchase your contamination and infection restriction products. But for in-depth guidance on the right products for your business, please do get in touch.