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How many times do you use your hands in a day? Eating, touching, holding, cleaning, greeting: the possibilities are endless. In fact, it's estimated that people touch hundreds of different surfaces every hour.
As they’re used so frequently, our hands are part of the body most exposed to germs and substances in the environment. In areas shared with other people, poor hand hygiene can mean that germs spread quickly via common touchpoints, such as door handles, shopping trolleys, stair rails, buttons – the list goes on. If we do pick up germs from these surfaces, our contaminated hands can transfer viruses to up to 5 more surfaces or 14 other subjects, increasing the risk of further cross-contamination with others. Thankfully, handwashing with soap can reduce the likelihood of germ transmission and prevent the spread of illnesses those germs may cause.
During recent years and events, we’ve all seen just how vital hand hygiene is to protect yourself and those around you, and its significance in our everyday lives won’t change any time soon. To support your efforts to maintain good hand hygiene and celebrate Global Handwashing Day 2023, we’re exploring the simple steps you and your business can take to promote good handwashing.
Despite its proven benefits, most people don't wash their hands effectively with soap and water, some skip handwashing entirely, and right-handed people tend to wash their left hand more thoroughly than their right hand and vice versa. What's more, even when they do use soap, people often don't wash their hands for long enough – Michigan State University found that average washing times for men and women were a mere 6.27 and 7.07 seconds respectively.
By following the steps below, you can ensure that you’re washing your hands effectively:
From the kettle’s handle to the printer’s buttons, a typical office worker’s hands can come into contact with 10 million bacteria every day. As with any shared space with countless common touchpoints, improving hand hygiene in your office can protect your employees from cross-contamination risks, reducing the potential for illnesses and subsequent absenteeism.
84% of those who work in a shared workplace/building believe it’s important that their employer prioritises creating a safe and hygienic workplace, so improving handwashing compliance can also be a way to show your staff how valued they are.
So, how can you support good hand hygiene in your workplace? Here are a few suggestions:
This year, they’re encouraging everyone to play their role in ensuring ‘clean hands are within reach’ and outlining the need to increase current efforts to achieve global hygiene targets. To learn more about Global Handwashing Day and its mission to achieve hand hygiene for all, click here.
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic
 Dr Charles Gerba, University of Arizona, 2004
 Initial, The Global Hygiene Reset, 2021
Initial supports business with hand hygiene by providing a wide range of solutions to suit all industries