While workplaces have always been a place where viruses and bacteria spread, we have never been more conscious of it, than we are right now. That means that a company's approach to hygiene will resonate now more than ever with staff and customers.
Create a hygiene policy
To make sure that every member of staff is participating in maintaining a safe and clean work environment, it's important to provide your staff with a written hygiene policy. This should specify exactly what your intentions are, the measures you are taking as a business to protect your employees, your hygiene and cleanliness expectations, and the role you expect your staff to play in keeping standards high. Communicating with your staff frequently about the importance of maintaining hygiene standards will encourage them to be conscientious but also show the importance that you place on it.
It is also important to understand any additional updates to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 as a result of the coronavirus. The Act states: "Employer duties include the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health."
Easy to follow notifications will be an effective way of ensuring action - for example:
- Regularly wipe your workstation with the antibacterial wipes provided
- Ensure all cups, mugs, utensils and plates are washed and kitchen areas are left spotless
- Wash your hands regularly throughout the day
- Try to observe social distancing at all times
HeathBrook have posters that recognise the importance of hand washing and can supply hand sanitiser stations or desk antibacterial gels to assist you - see our virus mitigation page for more details. If you are interested in adding Social Distancing Carpet Tiles to a commercial environment, we found these that could be worth looking at.
Target high risk areas
There is really a 2-pronged approach to reducing the risk of germs being spread. Sanitising hands and sanitising the high risk areas such as door handles, railings and the items on our workstations.
According to an article in The Independent, the average desktop harbours 20,961 germs per 2.5cm2 and that’s in addition to 3,295 on the keyboard and 1,676 on a mouse and a staggering 25,127 on our phones. It claims the average desk has 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. In our blog sticking to the facts, we provide more interesting details on how long germs stay on surfaces and just how often we touch our face (potentially 16x an hour). There are many insights that can be shared with employees on the importance of both personal and equipment hygiene.
Simple stop the spread approaches
In the strictest sense of the word, viruses aren’t technically alive. They need to invade hosts such as a human cell to manufacture themselves. Without help, microorganisms don't usually multiply on surfaces. Instead, they depend on multiple people touching them and transferring them.
There is a reason the key NHS campaign focussed so intensely on hand washing (hand drying is also essential, as bacteria spreads more easily from wet skin). As people return to work, focussing on sanitising commercial spaces and making it easy for employees and visitors to sanitise their hands will go a considerable way in meeting health and safety expectations.
HeathBrook can help with sanitisation products plus a wide range of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) designed to prevent the virus spread such as masks, coveralls, googles, face shields aprons and overshoes. For our comprehensive risk assessment checklist on what you need to do to prepare your business for employees going back to work and customers visiting your premises, take a look at our Guide on the subject.