Defending Against Workplace Germs
Even though we’re nearing the end of the cold and flu season, we’re not out of the woods yet. According to the Canadian Healthcare Influenza Immunization Network, there are roughly 1.5 million workdays lost annually in Canada because of the flu, resulting in $1 billion in healthcare and lost productivity costs. For a healthier, safer and more productive workplace, a cleaning regimen and schedule should be documented and executed. And these germ-fighting practices are not strictly for cold and flu season – implement them year round for maximum results.
Put Up a Fight
Make sure these tips are part of your workplace’s cleaning routine:
Because hands can carry 3,000 different types of bacteria, it is important to stress proper hand hygiene in the workplace. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) says hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. Make sure all washrooms contain an adequate supply of antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers, as well as hand towels. Studies have shown that paper towels are more effective than air dryers when it comes to preventing the circulation of bacteria and germs.
While we’re on the subject of washrooms, let’s tackle proper cleaning techniques. Incorporating floor mats specifically designed for washrooms can trap liquids, keeping floors dry and sanitary. For surfaces, choose a multi-purpose disinfectant cleaner to remove organisms and viruses. Wet mops are ideal for cleaning floors since they are made from synthetic fibres that are antimicrobial.
Items that are located in common areas (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons, printers, etc.) tend to see a lot of hand contact, and therefore are germ magnets. The flu virus can live and potentially infect people for up to 48 hours after being left behind on a surface. Frequently wipe down these shared spaces with all-purpose or glass and surface cleaners and microfibre towels, which are twice as absorbent as cotton towels.
Encourage employees to disinfect and sanitize their desks and working spaces often. Studies have shown that computer keyboards and office phones may be up to five times dirtier than an office toilet seat! And resist the urge to eat at your desk. Those crumbs always find their way into the nooks and crannies of your keyboard. We’re all guilty of desk clutter, but filing those paper piles means less dust and bacteria. Don’t forget to clean your mouse, water bottle and coffee mug too.
When it comes to employee perks, offer annual onsite flu shots. Making it a convenient experience increases the likelihood of employees getting vaccinated. Also, by providing flexible work from home and sick day policies, employees may not feel as obligated to come to work sick (and infect others).
It’s also important to clean the cleaners. This means mops, cloths, towels and buckets should be thoroughly washed and dried. If they are wet or left with debris, there is a possibility for bacteria to grow on their surfaces. When you rent these products, you can leave the upkeep and maintenance to the facility services supplier.
According to the CCOHS, adults have an average of 2-5 colds per year – one of the leading causes of missed days of work. This means lost productivity and negative economic impact on your business. Combat both by practicing these everyday germ-prevention measures. Workplaces that implement a cleaning program are more likely to employ a healthier, engaged workforce. Contact us today to learn how Canadian Linen can solve your facility services needs.
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