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Every day workers are potentially exposed to contaminants and conditions that can be harmful to their skin, for example detergents, liquids, chemicals, mechanical oils, greases, resins, paints, sealants and even hot and cold conditions. Occupational skin disorders, including work-related eczema, which commonly go unreported, account for 11.2% of all occupational diseases.
Hygiene, and hand hygiene in particular, is vital in the manufacturing sector to ensure public health is protected as well as ensuring product quality. As well as occupational skin disorders, poor hygiene can cause higher levels of absenteeism and shift disruption, increased presenteeism with sick employees attending work and spreading illnesses and damage to reputation and at worst a risk of legal action.
With approximately 80% of common infections being transmitted by touch, it is essential for manufacturing businesses to have good hand hygiene practices.
The standards of washrooms within manufacturing sites often varies between the office and manufacturing facilities. The office washroom needs to promote the factory image, conveying a sense of pride in the company's heritage and history. The washrooms in the manufacturing facility should be clean and provide the right provisions for employees using them in this area. With 1 in 6 people admitting that they don't wash their hands every time they use the toilet, the washrooms across the facility need to be clean and inviting for visitors and staff.
By protecting, cleaning and restoring the skin on your employee's hands, they can prevent dermatitis and you can ensure that you maintain a healthy workforce. A 3-step process should be followed to ensure the skin is protected against damaging influences and substances.
When customers or suppliers arrive at a facility, the reception is often their first point of contact and an important reflection of your company. Ensure they are welcomed into a clean and hygienic environment which will reflect well on the hygiene standards of your factory facility. High-touch surfaces such as reception counters and door handles harbour bacteria which can cause skin infections, food poisoning and respiratory diseases.
Communal areas where employees gather are great spaces to build hygiene awareness and to promote a cleaner, safer workplace.
Germs can remain on surfaces such as production lines for up to 48 hours and can increase the risk of cross-contamination from surface to hands.
Take care to reduce the risk of cross contamination by having a thorough cleaning regime as well as providing hand wash stations where necessary.
A recent study by Initial found that 49% of office workers sometimes or always eat at their desks. The potential for cross-contamination is high as germs from the washroom are spread by contaminated hands and transferred to desks, office equipment and food.