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With awareness of cleaning and hygiene at an all-time high, Alasdair Sharp, UK & Ireland Sales Manager for Satino by WEPA (supplied by WEPA Professional) discusses how attitudes towards cleaning – and hand-hygiene – have changed, how paper towels are helping to prevent the spread of germs, and the essential products that businesses cannot do without.
The past 12 months have presented some of the biggest challenges ever to face the UK, putting cleanliness and hygiene high on the agenda, and highlighting the importance of good hygiene practices.
Those of us working in the hygiene business have long understood the role that hygiene plays in our everyday lives, and its contribution towards health and wellbeing. However, the global pandemic has shone a spotlight on these practices – in particular, handwashing – as a means of keeping germs and bacteria at bay – and highlighted a need for further education.
For people working in industries where hygiene is an essential part of the daily routine, such as hospitality or healthcare, the idea of routine cleaning is not out of the ordinary. However, with more and more people now recognising hygiene as a key contributor to making our world a safer place, facilities managers across the country have been faced with the prospect of reviewing their existing practices to safeguard staff, visitors, and themselves.
A renewed focus on handwashing
A year on from the first UK lockdown, discussions around proper handwashing remain a priority, with daily emphasis being placed on this simple act and its role in combatting the spread of viruses.
Washing hands is one of the easiest things a person can do to prevent the spread of germs from one surface to another, with soap and water being an effective solution. This fundamental message has not changed, but the global crisis has highlighted the possibility that people might have become lax about their handwashing routines.
By this point, most of us will have seen or read the proper advice when it comes to washing our hands – wet your hands with warm water, apply a suitable soap or handwash, spend up to 20 seconds ensuring your hands are fully soaped before rinsing; but one area that is often overlooked is the most effective way to dry your hands.
While modern hot-air dryers have long been viewed as the quickest way to dry, research into the spread of bacteria while drying has shown that paper towels offer the safest solution.
In 2018, a study conducted by the University of Connecticut and published by the European Tissue Symposium* found that hand dryers are more likely to increase the risk of transmission of bacteria and viruses. Researchers sampled 36 washrooms on different floors across three buildings and observed that the amount of air emitted from dryers allowed bacteria to circulate.
In fact, several studies over the years have shown that hot air dryers are more likely to increase the risk of transmission, unlike paper towels which capture germs and can be easily disposed of after use.
As a responsible supplier of cleaning and hygiene products, we at WEPA Professional feel it is our duty to safeguard our customers by informing people of the effectiveness of paper hand towels. Hot air dryers may be quick and easy to use, but paper towels are just as easy, highly absorbent, and can also be used to avoid touching surfaces, such as taps and door handles. As a result, more and more businesses are making the switch.
Hygiene is not just about making hand sanitiser readily available and encouraging people to wash their hands; it is about implementing a full suite of solutions across your business to keep hygiene front of mind.
Keeping the workplace clean is a collective responsibility, which is why everyone across the business should be aware of hygiene policies and play a part in ensuring these are implemented day-to-day. It is important to ensure you are stocked up on those items that will enable staff and visitors to keep communal areas clean, from communal workspaces to the washroom.
A good way to keep on top of this is to place waste bins throughout the building so that no-one is ever left in the position of having nowhere to dispose of rubbish. Investment in industrial cleaning services and equipment – such as cleaning rolls and disinfectant – will also enable you to keep communal spaces clean such as the kitchen and washroom.
When it comes to the washroom, it is important to think about how soap and paper products are going to be accessed by users. These days, there are a variety of options available for paper towel and soap dispensers, including touch-free options that work via an automatic sensor, removing any concerns about transmission by touching surfaces. Keeping dispensers well stocked is also a simple way of maintaining good hygiene standards.
These simple steps go a long way to reducing the spread of germs and making facilities safer for everyone.
Cost versus gain
In this new era of cleaning, it is worth considering the long-term cost implications to your business of not having an effective hygiene policy in place.
The investment involved in sourcing the best cleaning and hygiene solutions can be offset by the long-term gains that a healthy workforce brings. Sickness absence can be extremely costly for a business when you compare this to the cost of cleaning products and services. From what we have seen, many have now adopted signage in communal areas to remind staff and visitors of the need to wash their hands regularly throughout the day, though a good hygiene policy should extend beyond this.
In addition to making hand sanitiser widely available, businesses should ensure that they have an adequate supply of soap in washrooms and kitchens that employees can use regularly. As already mentioned, paper towels are the ideal choice for drying hands and are available in a range of formats include z and v-fold for ease of use. Dispensers should be kept topped up, waste bins emptied frequently, and cleaning products made available in communal areas and for individual workspaces.
Additionally, the growth of the marketplace means that it is easier than ever to make sustainable choices for your business, including choosing paper products made from recycled, fair fibres, from responsible sources. So, it is worth looking into options that will enable you to maintain high standards of hygiene while doing your bit for the environment in line with your CSR policy.
For more information visit www.satino-by-wepa.co.uk or contact Alasdair Sharp at email@example.com. You can also follow Satino by WEPA on Twitter @satinobywepa or connect on LinkedIn.
*Source – European Tissue Symposium / University of Connecticut, Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot Air Hand Dryers (February 2018)
A new era for cleaning and hygiene
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