How to Set and Maintain Handwashing Expectations and Rules for Your Workplace

If you have ever used a business’ restroom, you’ve most likely seen a poster somewhere above the sink that states employees must wash hands before returning to work. In fact, you may have seen so many of these posters that you barely notice them anymore. That’s because businesses are mandated by federal law to prominently display these handwashing posters in bathrooms, kitchens, and other specified locations. Of course, just because a business features these important signs doesn’t mean their workers are acting accordingly. Simply put, there is no easy, tangible way to truly enforce health and hygiene in the workplace. That said, there are plenty of ways to encourage your people to follow proper hand washing protocols throughout the day. And as we remain stuck in this COVID-19 pandemic, setting and maintaining standards for hygiene and disinfection is now more important than ever. Here are some strategies for strengthening your handwashing expectations and rules in your workplace.

Follow CDC Guidelines for Hand Washing (and make it official)

Proper workplace hygiene begins with a solid foundation, which comes in the form of the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) official handwashing guidelines. Here you’ll find thorough instructions on why, when, and how to properly wash your hands via soap and water and/or hand sanitizer. For instance, the CDC recommends that people use clean, warm, running water, lather their hands with soap and rub together until all parts of the hands are clean (including backs of hands, between fingers, underneath nails, etc.), scrub for at least 20 seconds, rinse them under clean, running water, and dry them with air or a clean towel. Use detailed information like this to create an official handwashing policy that all employees and leaders can easily access and review.

Educate Employees

You can’t maintain great workplace hygiene if your people are unaware of what to do or why to do it. Some employees might already know much or all of this information, but in order to ensure everyone stays on the same page, assume that everyone is clueless. Using the information gathered from the CDC and other official sources, take time to teach your entire organization about matters such as how viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens transmit, how proper handwashing mitigates this spread, the role that disinfection services play into these matters, and more.

Re-establish Hand Washing Etiquette in Meetings

Of course, it can be difficult to retain all of the information in your hand washing hygiene policy. You can reinforce this information to your teams by including them in your regular meetings. This is especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, where improper hygiene can make a major negative impact on your operations very quickly. It might seem odd to discuss handwashing before or after a meeting that has nothing to do with it, but make the effort while you have everyone’s attention.

Signage Does Make a Difference

Where verbal reminders fail, visual cues may succeed. The mandatory posters discussed earlier truly can make a difference in maintaining your workplace’s handwashing expectations and rules. The more visually interesting and clear, the better. A good sign should feature bold images and large lettering, expressing when, why, and how employees should keep their hands clean. These posters act as reminders of the official policy as well as what’s included in it while stressing the importance of following it and increasing accountability. Location matters, too. While these signs should and must be placed in restrooms and kitchens, consider placing them around the office, near stairwells, by entrances and exits, etc. The more reminders, the better.

Invest in More Soap and Sanitizer

Your workplace hygiene strategy can’t function without the necessary resources. Employees must have access to enough soap and sanitizer to adhere to the official policy. As such, consider investing in more soap and sanitizer, create stations around the workplace where employees can sanitize their hands, and make sure the products you use are of high quality and EPA-approved.

Maintain a Clean Environment

Humans tend to adapt to their environment fairly quickly; a poorly maintained work environment can encourage bad habits, while a well-maintained, hygienic workplace promotes continued cleanliness and order. In other words, hiring disinfecting cleaning services to keep your workplace in good shape will compel your people to remain clean themselves. Not to mention that professional disinfecting services and cleaners will aid in infection control point-blank. These efforts create a positive cycle that entices everyone to do their part to keep themselves and everyone else safe, healthy, and clean.

What are Your Workplace’s Standards for Handwashing?

If you haven’t thought much about your workplace’s hygiene protocols in a while, this recent pandemic should have redirected your attention back to them. Take this opportunity to re-establish your expectations and rules so your people stay safe and healthy not only during the COVID-19 outbreak but also beyond. If you need help creating a handwashing plan or putting it to practice, The Budd Group is happy to help. Unlike many other cleaning and disinfection companies, we spend plenty of time with each individual client to understand their business’ and facility’s specific needs. Let us help you improve your workplace hand washing standards, reduce the risk of infection, and more.

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