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Good workplace hygiene and COVID 19

With COVID-19 being a continuing threat to public health, employers must prioritize excellent workplace hygiene to ensure the health and safety of their employees and anybody visiting their premises, as well as to help prevent the virus from spreading.

Employers can help to instill confidence in staff and visitors alike by providing clean and safe premises, as well as avoiding issues such as personnel complaints regarding hygiene standards.

The value of workplace hygiene

Workplace hygiene refers to the cleanliness requirements that employers are expected to follow in order to offer a healthy working environment for their employees as well as clean and safe premises for members of the public to visit. It also refers to maintaining acceptable levels of cleanliness and safety for the manufacture of products or the provision of services in conformity with any regulatory requirements.

The hygiene rules that apply to a workplace can vary based on the industry and the nature of the work being performed. Special health and safety precautions may be required in specific circumstances where there is a high danger of bacterial or viral contamination. An excellent example would be food preparation, where there is a high danger of salmonella, e-coli, and campylobacter illness.

However, there are some critical aspects of workplace hygiene that all employers must address in order 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 examples of these.

Workplace hygiene legislation

All employers, regardless of size, have a legislative duty to guarantee their employees’ health, safety, and welfare, as well as the health and safety of those who may be affected by their business.

Employers must take all reasonable precautions to prevent infection or disease caused by poor hygiene standards in order to meet this obligation. This means that all companies must identify and control any contamination risks to which their employees may be exposed.

Why is workplace hygiene so important?

Health dangers in the workplace can easily be caused by either an unsanitary and poorly kept environment or by employees’ poor personal hygiene. Employers that fail to implement high standards of workplace hygiene in respect of both their facilities and their staff, or who fail to put in place adequate mechanisms to ensure that these practices are followed, necessarily increase the danger to the health of both employees and visitors.

Employers must ensure that workplaces are safe and sanitary not just to meet their statutory duty 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, especially when employees are obliged to work in close quarters. Prior to the pandemic, there was also a significant culture of presenteeism in several firms, where employees were encouraged to work while unwell rather than take time off for minor ailments like the common cold.

In the case of coronavirus, employees who exhibit symptoms of a typical cold are now recommended to stay at home. Unsurprisingly, considering the substantial health hazards involved with coronavirus transmission, the pandemic has emphasized the significance of workplace hygiene. In reality, the COVID-19 epidemic is the most significant occupational health and safety risk that most businesses have ever faced.

Workplace hygiene techniques for coronavirus protection

While many employees continue to work remotely, important workers and skeleton staff continue to report to their regular workplaces. It is therefore critical that these employees, as well as any members of the public who visit these sites, are properly protected from the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Coronavirus can easily spread from humans to surfaces, where it is then passed on to others who come into contact with the same surfaces. Maintaining excellent personal hygiene standards and keeping your workplace clean are important components of keeping your workplace safe and limiting the spread of the virus. Employers should focus on the following major areas of workplace hygiene, according to government and HSE recommendations.

How should personal hygiene be handled at work?

The best way to deal with personal hygiene issues at work is to promote a healthy and safe culture throughout your organization. A clear hygiene policy should be in place to ensure that everyone participates in creating and maintaining a clean and safe working environment, and that everyone is encouraged to practice proper personal hygiene at all times.

Your workplace hygiene policy should define the steps you are taking as an organization to keep employees and visitors safe, your cleaning requirements, and the role employees play in maintaining high standards. This should include an emphasis on the need for frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers in the context of coronavirus.

By encouraging personal hygiene in this manner, backed up by regular internal communication and the exhibition of cleaning posters, everyone will be aware of their obligations. Given the magnitude of the hazards associated with coronavirus propagation, you may wish to conduct particular COVID-19 training to ensure that all of your employees completely appreciate the need of infection management.

If a specific member of staff is failing to follow the advice and guidance provided, it may be good to discuss this informally at first, while emphasizing the necessity of compliance. If an employee’s personal hygiene continues to fall short of the acceptable standards, placing themselves and others at risk of illness, disciplinary measures may be imposed.