Modern Workplace Bacteria Control Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

Modern Workplace Bacteria Control Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

No matter how effective your personal hygiene standards are, a single person in your place of work can cause illness.

No matter how effective your personal hygiene standards are, a single person in your place of work can cause illness. According to the CDC, there are 2.8 million non-fatal workplace illnesses and injuries every year, with many of these arising from poor infection control within the workplace. As a result, businesses spend close to $46 billion on workplace cleaning every year. Making simple changes could help employees, and employers, to enjoy a safer working environment.

Focusing on problem areas

The areas where bacteria buildup is most significant haven’t changed dramatically in many years. Telephones, buttons and door handles all boast the greatest level of cultures, with one study finding telephones hosted up to 25,000 bacteria per handle. Essentially, shared areas are most at risk. However, new developments have changed the level of bacteria in the workplace. Smartphones in particular have acted as a carrier; one study reported by Business Insider found that most smartphones are more unhygienic than toilet seats. Employers should encourage their staff to practice proper hygiene, including regular wiping down of their company and personal devices.

Making common sense changes

Some of the most effective destroyers of harmful bacteria are freely available to employers. As Healthline reports, simply letting natural light into an office can destroy bacteria – the UV light from the sun destroys bacteria, leaving half the amount of viable organisms when compared to dark rooms. Sunlight also has beneficial effects on morale and well being; just ensure that any desktop assessments, such as those geared towards tackling glare, are addressed. These basic changes can have a world of benefit for H&S professionals.

Providing public health information

Arising from the ashes of previous killer bacteria are ‘superbugs’, which will threaten up to 30,000 lives by 2050, according to a report by CNBC. These can be brought into and bred in the workplace through poor personal health actions taken by employees. The most important lesson that employees can learn is that antibiotics are not a cure-all, and only work for bacteria. Colds, influenza, and so on should be kept out of the workplace and treated with rest and recuperation. For H&S professionals, there is value to be gained in raising awareness among staff as to their options with healthcare, potentially through company insurance options.

The workplace, as a meeting zone for hundreds of different lives, is a melting pot for bacteria. Tackling this effectively is crucial to maintaining a healthy working environment. Combining simple changes with open information is the most effective way to ensure this.

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  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2020

    June 2020

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