Should you put hand sanitizers in your office?
When someone is sick in the office, you don’t have to wait long until everyone starts getting symptoms of illness. Only one person or surface infected is enough to make everyone sick. A group of researchers applied samples of a virus, bacteriophage MS-2 which is similar to Norovirus, the most common cause of gastrointestinal illness, to several surfaces such as doorknobs and table tops at the beginning of the day. In two to four hours, 40 to 60% of workers and visitors picked up the virus and spread it to many other surfaces. The hand is a quick tool to spread germs and the close proximity of people makes it easy for germs to jump from a surface to another.
In order to avoid this situation, good hand hygiene is recommended. Employers looking to limit the spread of illnesses in the office should invest in hand sanitizer dispensers. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers reduce the number of cases of the common cold and fever in an office and decrease the number of sick days employees take due to these illnesses.
A recent study made by the University of Southampton in Southampton, England showed that increasing hand washing and hand hygiene in general can lower the rates of respiratory, gastrointestinal infections, and influenza illnesses. 20 000 people were involved in the study. Part of the group were provided education about hand hygiene and the spread of germs and virus which led to 15 to 25 per cent reduction in infections compared to the other group. It is the first time that a serious study has been made, showing real effects of hand hygiene. People don’t always carry one with them so providing hand sanitizers will improve hand hygiene and can ward off illnesses.
During a regular workday, using hand sanitizer three to five times is enough to already reduce the spread of germs. Place hand sanitizers containing at least 60% of alcohol where it can easily be spotted, such as in high traffic areas and in the restroom.
Washington Post. 2014. A single doorknob can contaminate up to 60 percent of people in a building in 4 hours. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/09/10/a-single-doorknob-can-contaminate-up-to-60-percent-of-people-in-a-building-in-4-hours/.
NCBI. 2008. Effect of Hand Hygiene on Infectious Disease Risk in the Community Setting: A Meta-Analysis. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2446461/.