Hand Hygiene in the Workplace!

Startling Results from Office Workers’ Hand Hygiene Survey

It is astonishing that many people neglect to wash their hands regularly. In a recent survey involving over 200 office workers, the findings were quite surprising. Only two out of five individuals wash their hands after using the toilet. This fact makes one ponder about the hygiene of the items they interact with, such as cups and biscuits. Proper hand hygiene is of utmost importance – – just stop, wash and go!

Impact of Poor Hand Hygiene on Workplace Productivity and Health

Given that people spend around 60% of their day in the office, it’s no wonder that sickness, colds, flu, and new viruses are on the rise. Surprisingly, over 40% of employees or their colleagues do not practice proper hand hygiene, which further contributes to the issue. Even more concerning is the fact that over 65% of companies fail to promote basic levels of hand hygiene.

Hand Hygiene Practices Vary Across Different Professions

An analysis of the survey data reveals that hand hygiene practices differ based on the type of work. For instance, a mere 75% of construction workers, 63% of office workers, and 57% of customer service personnel wash their hands less than three times a day. However, a commendable 93% of medical employees and 87% of food service employees exhibit higher awareness, washing their hands up to 10 times daily.

Workplace Hygiene 

Considering the various items shared in workplaces, such as keyboards, kitchen plates, cups, cutlery, and phones, it’s not surprising that they harbour harmful bacteria. Unlike in one’s own home where hygiene can be controlled, the workplace environment depends on the collective effort of colleagues to safeguard everyone’s health.

Tackling Absenteeism through Improved Hand Hygiene Practices

The persistently high annual rate of absenteeism among Irish workers due to sickness incurs significant costs to the economy. Implementing simple measures like promoting hand washing, displaying signs near hand basins, providing quality soap and detergents, and excellent hand drying facilities can substantially reduce the number of sick days taken each year.

Key Recommendations for Effective Hand Washing

To ensure an adequate level of hand hygiene, it is recommended to wash hands at least four to five times daily using the appropriate method. Factors such as water temperature, soap/detergent type, and washing duration all contribute to the effectiveness of this primary defense against workplace germs.

The Importance of Hand Washing Acknowledged by the Department of Health

he Department of Health recognises the vital role of hand washing in preventing the spread of germs and controlling diseases. It regularly promotes basic guidelines on health, which should be reinforced in workplaces to promote a healthier environment.

Embracing Personal and Professional Responsibility for Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is a responsibility that extends to both personal and professional aspects. This simple yet effective practice should become routine for everyone, as it directly impacts the overall hygiene control. Let’s embrace common sense and adopt the best way to wash hands, ensuring a healthier workplace.


  • Remove rings, watches or bracelets
  • Wet hands with warm water prior to reaching for the soap/detergent
  • Rub hands together – make up a lather (away from running water)
  • Wash front and back of hands, between fingers and nails
  • Rinse under warm to very warm water
  • Dry extremely well, ideally under hand dryer – don’t leave until fully dry!

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