Coronavirus has undoubtedly changed the public perception and knowledge of poor hygiene. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of maintaining good hygiene standards in public places. In Initial’s ‘The Global Hygiene Reset’ report, 84% of respondents said that they feel it’s important that employers prioritise creating safe and hygienic environments for their employees.
Humans typically touch hundreds of surfaces a day, whether that is when we open a door, check our phones or simply make our dinner, which brings into question how clean these surfaces actually are.
According to the Society for General Microbiology, some bacteria divide every 20 minutes when left in the right setting. A study carried out in 2016 found over 340 different types of bacteria on thirty different surfaces in a family home alone.
While not all forms of bacteria are potentially harmful to the human body, some of those that can make us sick and are found in homes and public spaces, include:
What are the most common surfaces we come into contact with on a daily basis?
On average, we pick up our phones 58 times a day. Now, that may not seem like a lot, but a recent study suggests that there are more germs on your mobile phone than on a toilet seat! How would you feel if you were to touch a toilet seat 58 times a day without washing your hands afterwards? The very thought is stomach-churning! The CDC considers your smartphone a commonly touched surface and recommends disinfecting your phone every single day.
Microbiology lab students at the University of Penn State took part in a campaign to educate their peers about the importance of handwashing. After swabbing a doorknob they found a staggering 14 different colonies of bacteria. To put that into perspective – a single colony can contain as many as a million bacteria!
According to a Study on Bacterial Flora on the Fingerprinting Surface of the Biometric Devices at a Tertiary Care Hospital, of 84 samples that were collected from the surface of the biometric fingerprinting devices, 46% of the samples when tested yielded bacteria growth!
The Viking Raja Group conducted an interesting experiment whereby they swabbed various surfaces containing bacterial cultures within an office environment that people are most likely to come into contact with. These surfaces included a desk, keyboard, kettle, photocopier, telephone mouthpiece and computer mouse which had been cleaned, to name a few.
After five days, the surfaces that contained the most bacteria were the desk and the photocopier. Areas that contained the least bacteria were the computer mouse and the door handles – as these are regularly cleaned. This shows us the importance of regularly cleaning our office surfaces and equipment in order to help limit the spread of germs.
Have you ever wondered about the level of germs present on gym equipment such as free weights and the exercise machines that are used on a regular basis? Fit Rated gathered 27 bacteria samples from three different gyms and the results were quite shocking!
A staggering 70% of the bacteria found on gym equipment was found to be potentially harmful. Of the equipment swabbed, treadmills contained the most bacteria, followed by exercise bikes and then free weights. In fact, treadmills contained 74 times more bacteria than a tap!
Restaurant Menus and condiments
Have you ever seen a waiter or waitress disinfect a menu before handing it to you? Or even the condiments on the table? Now, imagine the number of customers and employees who touch these items in a day, let alone a week, or, dare I say, a month.
According to Good Morning America, restaurant menus contain a whopping count of 185 000 bacteria, followed by pepper shakers with a count of 11 600 microorganisms!
Compounding this risk is the fact that a number of bacteria are known to survive on hard surfaces for a long period of time; as an example, did you know that the flu virus can survive on a hard surface for up to 18 hours?
One piece of advice is to place your food order and then make sure that you wash or sanitise your hands while you wait for your order to arrive.
How can you help prevent the spread of germs?
- Wash your hands regularly – especially after using the washroom, after coughing or sneezing, before and after eating or preparing food and after using public transport – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or as long as it takes to sing the song “happy birthday” twice.
- If soap and water are not readily available, ensure that you sanitise your hands with an alcohol-based sanitiser.
- Disinfectant wipes are very handy to keep around, especially when visiting public spaces or touching surfaces that are regularly touched by others such as restaurant menus, bank ATMs, supermarket trolleys and so on.
How technology is reducing the need to touch surfaces
More businesses and consumers are starting to use contactless technology – especially in light of the pandemic which has brought health and safety and hygiene front of mind – No Touch technology can provide an effective solution for helping to reduce cross contamination opportunities.
Solutions from our experts
Implementing these No Touch solutions can help to reduce the number of hotspots in the workplace. Here are three solutions you can implement in your business to help ensure a safer environment:
Hygienic Door Handles and Pads: Our Hygienic door handles are available as push pad and pull handles, and they release alcohol gel between uses, helping to keep the door handle and the user’s hands clean. These handles can be easily fitted to any door and assist with the maintenance of good hand and surface hygiene in your premises.
Surface Sanitisers and Surface Disinfectants: Pathogens can multiply on any available surface, making surface hygiene a crucial issue for any business. By using our professional range of surface sanitisers and surface disinfectants, you can help to keep the communal touchpoints of your site clean.
Hand Soap Dispensers: Reliably dispensing hand soap is a crucial step in safeguarding your site’s hygiene standards. All of our wall-mounted soap dispensers will help to achieve this. Whether you opt for a fully serviced or self-service hand hygiene option, all of our soap dispensers are lockable and vandal resistant, including our supremely hygienic No Touch automatic range.
By implementing expert hygiene solutions, businesses are clearly about to demonstrate that they care about their working environment and the people that visit their spaces.