Personal hygiene in the office: this must be observed by employers

As an employer, you have a special responsibility towards your employees and their health. In addition, illnesses and absences among employees lead to high costs. You and your employees literally have it “in your own hands” to minimize the risk of infection. The principles apply to employees in all industries, including in supposedly safe offices. The AHA rules and ventilation should already be a matter of course for everyone. In the following paragraphs you will find the most important aspects with which you can further minimize the risk of infection.

Hand hygiene – but right!

An important part of the Personalhygiene is hand hygiene. While you are in the office, your employees touch doorknobs, telephones and keyboards – and unintentionally use them to spread any viruses, germs or bacteria. These objects, as well as other surfaces, should therefore be cleaned and disinfected regularly. However, correct hand hygiene can prevent pathogens from reaching these surfaces in advance.

At the beginning of the pandemic, hand washing was given a particularly high priority: this measure can generally reduce the bacterial and germ load. However, this only applies to correct hand washing. Information signs in washrooms should therefore contain at least the following instructions:

  • Moisten hands.
  • Work in liquid soap on all parts of the hand and wrist for about 20 seconds. Caution: The back of the hand and wrist are often forgotten, although germs and bacteria also accumulate here.
  • Drying with disposable paper towels: These remove germs more reliably, while air dryers can even increase the number of bacteria. That is why air dryers without a HEPA filter are no longer permitted.

Once the hands have been washed in this way, the dry hands should be disinfected to further reduce the bacterial load. To do this, it is important to also moisten the skin of the wrists, between the fingers and on the back of the hand. The product should be massaged in for at least 30 seconds. In some medical facilities, the hands are sometimes only disinfected, as this effectively combats germs and bacteria.

It is advisable to install disinfectant dispensers next to the washbasin, in the entrance area and especially in the kitchenette. Handy bottles with disinfectant should also be available for appointments outside the home.

Choose quality products

For personal hygiene, high-quality products should be chosen that have been developed for frequent and professional use. This is the only way to ensure that they fulfill their purpose of hand hygiene and that the skin’s natural protective barrier remains intact. Products that are offered in the drugstore often do not meet these criteria.

Specifically, liquid or foam soap should be chosen, which, unlike bar soap, does not have to be touched. After washing, it is important to dry your hands correctly and completely with disposable paper towels. The disinfectant should be especially suitable for hands. It can be re-greased a little to restore the natural skin protection. Even with frequent use, there are no unpleasant reddening or cracks that could distract your employees from their work. Hand protection lotions should also be offered: These should be absorbed quickly and not leave a greasy film.

Fragrances or preservatives should not be contained in any of the products used. Because these can trigger or worsen allergies or skin diseases. Furthermore, they should be pH-neutral, i.e. up to a value of 6.5. In the alkaline range beyond a value of 7, the protective function of the skin is attacked.

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