By: Robert Martin, Associate Category Manager, Kimberly-Clark Professional Partnership Products |
Providing for good indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important function. But it’s only one component of a holistic healthy workplace program. Read more to find out how you can help turn your workplace from just a place to work into a truly exceptional workplace.
In the war against germs, illness and cross-contamination, superior IAQ works hand-in-hand with other workplace wellness efforts like respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene and surface sanitation to keep building occupants healthy and productive.
Respiratory Etiquette: Cover That Cough!
Coughs and sneezes spread diseases! Here are some tips for helping to reduce the spread of germs in your workplace:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw away the tissue instead of re-using it.
- If a tissue isn’t handy, sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
- The best medicine may be distance. Stay away from people who are sick, and if you’re sick, consider staying at home to avoid spreading germs to others.
Hand Hygiene: Mom Always Knew Best
Back in kindergarten, we all learned the importance of good old-fashioned hand washing. Here’s what you can do to help nip cross-contamination in the bud:
- Make sure washrooms are stocked with plenty of hand soap and disposable towels.
- Place hand sanitizer stations in high-traffic areas.
- Give employees bottles of hand sanitizer to keep at their work stations.
- When washing hands, use soap and warm water and rub hands vigorously together for 15-20 seconds, scrubbing all surfaces of the hands to dislodge and remove germs.
Surface Sanitation: Target Germ Hot Spots
Fingers carrying a flu virus can contaminate up to seven clean surfaces. That’s why it’s important to have a good understanding of germ “hot spots” throughout a workplace and to adopt proper surface sanitation measures to avoid the spread of germs:
- Restrooms – for obvious reasons.
- Break Rooms and Kitchens – sink and microwave door handles are the dirtiest surfaces touched by office workers on a daily basis.
- Doors – everyone touches the door handle on their way into our out of the building, bringing harmful germs with them.
- Stair Railings – People touch railings often and can transmit germs without even knowing it.
- Elevator Buttons – just one finger can spread germs throughout an entire building.
- Copy Stations – adults touch their faces and average of 15.7 times every hour, transmitting germs to the surfaces they subsequently touch.
- Conference Tables – when large groups gather in one place, the potential for spreading germs grows exponentially.
- Lobby Areas – viruses can live up to 48 hours on surfaces, including chairs and tables.
- Water Cooler – common areas like this are perfect sanctuaries for germs, especially when eating or drinking are involved.
Healthy workplace habits like these can lead to a healthier, safer and more productive work environment overall.