The importance of hand washing can’t be overstated. Using the correct hand washing procedure can keep you and those around you safe from illness and bacteria. Failing to use the correct hand washing technique can be the same as not bothering at all, leaving nasty germs and contaminants on everything you touch, including your food.
But in the workplace, this becomes even more important, as one person failing to maintain the appropriate cleanliness can lead to unauthorised absences for many via the spread of disease. Lack of proper hygiene and hand washing supplies can even give visitors and customers an unpleasant first impression of your working environment, something that can affect your top line.
Maintaining the proper handwashing infection control standards can be as simple as displaying hand washing guidelines, encourage and enforcing their adherence, and providing the appropriate hand washing materials.
We’ve put together this guide to the proper hand washing technique from the NHS in order to allow you to do this, and will even provide a free hand washing technique poster below that you can display in your workplace!
But first, let’s look at why this is so important:
Hand Washing and Germs
The number of ways our hands can get contaminated are simply too numerous to count. Of course, the most common ways include through coming into contact with feces when people don’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom.
Germs from human or animal feces can spread norovirus, respiratory infections and more. Handling raw meat or even simply touching a door handle after somebody else touches it soon after sneezing is also common ways to come into contact with large amounts of germs.
This is one of the most common ways in which viruses, bacteria and sickness is transferred from one human to another, and by keeping our hands clean, we can prevent illness for ourselves and others.
Some important times to thoroughly clean your hands include:
- Before or after cooking (or between handling different ingredients)
- Before eating
- Before and after caring for somebody who is sick
- After using the bathroom
- After handling waste
- After coughing or sneezing
- Before and after treating a wound or damaged skin
- After touching an animal
Of course, even religiously washing your hands in each of these situations still won’t keep you safe from bacteria if you aren’t washing thoroughly enough.
So how do you ensure you wash your hands properly every single time?
Let’s jump right in:
Hand Washing Steps
In order to thoroughly wash your hands, follow the below steps.
We highly recommend circulating these steps to employees and displaying the below hand washing poster in order to encourage proper hand washing as much as possible:
1. First, thoroughly wet your hands with warm water
2. Next, apply soap to your damp/moist hands and lather thoroughly, scrubbing both the front and back of your hands, between every finger, and under your nails. Rub your hands together continuously for at least 30 seconds, being sure to cover every part of them generously with soap.
3. Rinse your hands thoroughly under warm running water until completely clean.
4. Dry your hands thoroughly, ideally using an air dryer, ideally one that doesn’t require direct skin contact to operate such as those pictured. If you must use a towel, ensure it is completely clean.
Need to clean your hands but not near the appropriate facilities? Hand sanitizer, while not as effective as soap, is a lifesaver in many such situations.
Hand Washing Poster
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