Workplace health and hygiene are important to food safety, commercial sanitation, and of course personal health. A clean work environment can prevent the spread of illness, minimize bacterial growth, and limit unsanitary surfaces.
Remember, just because something resembles clean does not mean that it actually is. Here’s some good hygiene practices to follow in the workplace:
1. Worker hygiene
Before we delve into all the ways you can keep your good hygiene practices in the workplace, recognize the impact bad employee hygiene can have on the environment.
Ideally, you want a worker to be wearing clean clothing, to have footwear that doesn’t stink, to wash their hands regularly post-bathroom and especially if they’re coming into contact with food, and to not be contributing messes in settings they shouldn’t be.
2. Cleaning surfaces
Where the most of a workplace’s bacteria will gather are surfaces. These are the things workers touch regularly, like their keywords, computers, desks, chairs, door handles, and similar things.
Surfaces should be cleaned on a regular basis to reduce the risk of transferring bacteria from worker to worker. Unclean surfaces are not always easy to spot in a business setting as they may not necessarily appear to be dirty. Regardless of how they look, always give them a thorough clean on a daily or nightly basis.
3. Using sanitizers
While cleaning with soap and detergents are important, it’s a necessary step to sanitize. You remove grease and dirt by cleaning but you’re not killing any bacteria or pathogens. To kill bacteria, you need sanitizer. Some of the top sanitizers used in commercial environments are bleach, quats, and iodine.
As long as these are used according to manufacturer instruction, anyone can achieve good hygiene practices in a safe, bacteria-free workplace.
In every office or business setting, hand-washing is a necessary hygiene practice to protect yourself and your co-workers. When should you clean your hands at work? Any time you sneeze or cough, use the bathroom, coming in from smoking, when handling raw foods, after cleaning tables or equipment, and if you’ve handled any objects that could be soiled such as garbage, money, or otherwise.
When washing your hands, ensure you lather for at least 20-30 seconds. Under water, rinse after scrubbing the back of your hands, wrists, and all fingers.
5. A cleaning plan
In order to achieve good hygiene practices in the workplace, you should implement a cleaning schedule which outlines how each item needs to be cleaned, who is responsible for said cleaning, and how frequently it’s supposed to happen.
If you have a commercial cleaning company coming in to do your cleaning for you, ask them about what they are doing, how often, and with what. You may have some changes or recommendations to make, or alternatively, something to learn from it.
6. Protective clothing
If you work in an environment that’s getting its fair share of uncleanliness, you probably know it. Protective clothing is often given to help protect workers from injury but also, to assist with cleanliness.
If you are working with food, organic matter, or materials that are waste-causing, protective clothing that’s properly disposed of and/or cleaned afterwards is a strong strategy in keeping up with ideal hygiene practices.
If you work in a kitchen, warehouse, or non-office based setting, you may have some equipment in need of an occasional clean. If possible, disassemble prior to cleaning. Older equipment can also be a breeding ground for dirt and bacteria.
Any time you take a piece of equipment for routine maintenance, it makes sense to also give it a good cleaning to remove any grime or bacterial build-up.
8. Jewellery and perfumes
For every gender, you want a welcoming workplace with good hygiene practices for one and all. This oftentimes will mean limiting certain things, such as ensuring a scent-free environment with no perfumes, body sprays, or cologne.
Bracelets and hanging jewelry can sometimes get caught in machinery, and isn’t recommended in some environments, although this is entirely unrelated to hygiene. Also, in some cases, you may even choose to advocate for no nail polish which can sometimes chip into food.
9. Handling sickness
If someone in the office is sick, they shouldn’t be kept around because they can infect others. Instead of powering through a shift, someone who is sick should go home. Especially if you’re preparing food or in close quarters with others, this is a rule which needs to be respected. Otherwise, you could run into more lost productivity than you need.
10. No cuts or open wounds
Whether someone’s been accidentally cut at work or walks in with an open wound, ensure they’ve been provide a bandage that fully covers any cuts or wounds. Evidently, if someone’s bleeding, they need medical attention and should be immediately removed from the regular workplace environment.
You don’t want blood marks across your workplace nor a worker ill potentially from bacteria from the work environment infecting them through the wound.