Employers must prioritize excellent workplace hygiene to ensure the health and safety of their employees and visitors, as well as to help prevent the virus from spreading. Employers may assist instil confidence in staff and visitors alike by providing clean and safe premises, avoiding issues such as personnel complaints regarding hygiene standards.
In the following article, we’ll look at what good workplace hygiene means for employers, as well as what practical efforts may be taken to establish a safe and hygienic working environment in compliance with an employer’s legal duty of care and best practice recommendations. You can save time by outsourcing your cleaning to a professional provider of facilities management in London.
The significance of workplace sanitation
Workplace hygiene refers to the cleanliness requirements that employers are obliged to follow to offer a healthy working environment for their employees, as well as clean and safe premises for the general public to visit.
Depending on the industry and the nature of the job being done, the hygiene rules that apply to a workplace can change from one company to the next. Special health and safety measures may be required in specific circumstances where there is a high danger of bacterial or virus contamination. Food preparation is a good illustration of this, as there is a high danger of food poisoning from salmonella and campylobacter.
There are, however, a few essential areas of workplace hygiene that all employers must address to reduce the risk of infection and disease caused by bacteria, germs, and viruses. Workplace cleanliness, clean restroom and kitchen facilities, and personal hygiene are among them.
All employers, regardless of size, have a legal obligation to protect their employees’ health, safety, and welfare, as well as the health and safety of those who may be affected by their operations.
Employers must take all reasonable steps, as far as is reasonably feasible, to prevent any infection or disease resulting from poor hygiene standards. This means that all businesses must identify any contamination risks to which their employees may be exposed and take steps to mitigate those risks.
Furthermore, all employers should conduct a “suitable and sufficient” assessment of the potential health and safety risks to which their employees are exposed at work, as well as the health and safety of any visitors “arising out of or in connection with” the way the business is run.
Employers must comply with the following requirements:
- Identify the hazards of disease and infection as a result of contamination.
- Put in place suitable procedures in the workplace to reduce these hazards
- Hire capable individuals to supervise the risk management process
- Employees should be informed about the dangers to their health.
- Provide training on workplace cleanliness and infection control.
What makes workplace hygiene so important?
In the workplace, health dangers can be easily caused by an unsanitary and poorly kept environment or by employees’ poor personal hygiene. When companies fail to establish high standards of workplace hygiene for both their facilities and their staff, or to put in place effective mechanisms to guarantee that these practices are followed, the health of both employees and visitors is necessarily jeopardized.
Employers must ensure that workplaces are safe and sanitary not just to meet their legal obligations to guarantee the health and safety of employees and members of the public, but also to reduce the risk of illness and disease transmission.
Workplaces have traditionally been locations where bacteria, germs, and viruses may move fast from one person to the next, particularly when employees are obliged to work in close quarters. There was also a significant culture of presenteeism in several firms, at least before the pandemic, when employees were encouraged to work while unwell rather than take time off for mild illnesses like the common cold.
In the case of coronavirus, on the other hand, personnel with symptoms of a typical cold are now advised to stay at home. The pandemic has underlined the need for workplace hygiene, which is unsurprising given the substantial health hazards involved with the spread of coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious occupational health and safety threat that most businesses have ever faced.
While many employees continue to work remotely, important employees and skeleton staff continue to report to their regular workplaces around the UK. As a result, it is critical that these staff, as well as any members of the public who visit these facilities, are properly protected against the spread of coronavirus.
Coronavirus can easily spread from people to surfaces, where it can then infect others who come into contact with the same surfaces. Keeping your workplace clean and encouraging good personal hygiene is an important aspect of keeping your workplace safe and limiting the spread of the virus. Employers should concentrate on the following main areas of workplace hygiene:-.
A simple yet efficient technique to improve workplace hygiene and prevent the transmission of coronavirus is to clean regularly. To reach best practice requirements, you may need to increase the frequency and thoroughness with which you clean your facilities, as well as cleaning surfaces that you ordinarily would not clean. The following items should be included in your cleaning routine:
- Kitchen utensils, glassware, and equipment such as refrigerators, microwaves, kettles, and toasters must all be kept pristine.
- Maintaining sanitary restrooms with soap, hand towels, and working hand dryers, as damp skin can aid bacteria to spread.
- Wherever possible, disinfect surfaces, workstations, conference facilities, equipment, or vehicles after every use.
- Disinfecting hotspots, or commonly touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, windows, railings, banisters, control panels, telephones, and kitchen equipment, regularly.
You should also encourage employees to clean and sanitize their workplaces, as well as any communal surfaces or locations that they have used, creating a community obligation to clean as they work.
Hand-washing and sanitizing should be done regularly.
Staff should be given explicit instructions on how to wash their hands and what technique to use, as well as reminders, such as posters posted outside restrooms, kitchens, or other areas with basic hand-washing facilities. Where hand-washing facilities are limited, you may need to install more ones.
Washing facilities with running water, soap, and paper towels or hand dryers should be available to all employees and guests. Sanitizer or sanitizing stations should also be provided, including at entry and departure points.
Personal hygiene standards
Hand-washing and the usage of hand sanitizers should be emphasized to all employees in the workplace. This should include regular reminders to sanitize their hands before contacting equipment, particularly shared equipment. Reminding employees not to touch their faces and to catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue or on their arm is also a good idea.