07 March 2013
In a world where there has never been greater focus on hand hygiene it can be surprising that so many people still ignore its importance. Mike Sullivan discusses what facilities managers can do to optimise hygiene in the washroom
It is almost frightening that with all the research showing the powerful link between hand hygiene and infection, there are still those who will apparently find it a chore to wash their hands.
According to a collaborative study by the American Society for Microbiology and the Soap Detergent Association, one in four people do not wash their hands before they leave toilet areas.Therefore two things above all become essential: to accentuate hand hygiene training, and to make the cleaning process as easy and straight forward as possible.
It is the duty of facilities managers in particular to ensure that precautions and equipment are in place and to do everything possible to protect members of staff or the public from infection. In any environment that sees a high volume of people using facilities, it is widely known that sickness and germs can spread virulently.
Inevitably, sickness leads to absenteeism and reduced productivity.
This is especially important where hospitals, leisure and retail are concerned as it can mean a damaged reputation and even legal action.However with the correct positioning of dispensers, negative behaviours become easier to influence.
Location, location, location After its success in the USA, GOJO has now introduced PURELL Perfect Placement in Europe, a concept aimed at optimising the positioning of hand sanitiser dispensers to help prevent the spread of germs throughout buildings. PURELL Perfect Placement is about stopping germs from leaving the washroom by encouraging all users to sanitise their hands. In my own experience, I see more and more washroom users taking a paper towel to open the exit door because they want to avoid contact with a potentially contaminated surface.
This GOJO programme ensures hands are sanitised directly before making contact with door handles, giving germ-conscious users more peace of mind and cleaner hands.The scientifically proven theory shows that placing dispensers on walls by washroom exit doors between 36" to 46"above the floor is the perfect height to trigger proper hand hygiene behaviour and prevent the transmission of germs from door handles.
Simple measures can be taken to ensure the health of the people using washroom facilities. Obviously there are some washroom configurations that might make dispenser placement difficult, but facilities managers should be able to use their judgement in finding the right location that offers optimum use.
The World Health Organisation recommends that one of the best ways to prevent illness and infection is by washing your hands or using an alcohol based gel, but the fact of the matter is lots of people fail to do so, nor of course can companies force them to.
What companies can and must do, however, is provide the best possible hand hygiene education and the best possible washroom systems.That way they can be seen to have done their best, in protecting the public, their staff and not least themselves.
Mike Sullivan is the managing director of GOJO Industries-Europe