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October 15, 2021

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hand hygiene

‘The majority of employees do not wash or dry their hands properly’, new research shows

New independent research carried out by YouGov, has found that the majority of employees do not wash and dry their hands properly at work, despite the action being important to help reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses, including COVID.

patient safety hand washThe YouGov research, commissioned by national washroom service provider, Elis, who have since produced a report on the findings, found that 55% of employees say they wash their hands for less than the recommended 20 seconds when they are at work, with 27% washing their hands for ten seconds or less. Only 37% said they wash their hands for 20 seconds or more, with those over 55 (45%) more likely to, compared to other age groups.

The research also found that 57% say they leave the workplace bathroom with damp hands because the drying equipment is not good enough or fast enough, with those working in London (60%) and the under 35s (65%) the most likely to say this. Only 31% of employees say they always leave their workplace toilets with dry hands, compared to 66% who say their hands are dry when they leave a bathroom at home.

Nick Barton, Regional Director at Elis said: “We know that we should be washing our hands properly, but research has also shown that damp hands can spread more bacteria and viruses than dry hands, so it is important to dry hands properly too. The fact that employees are twice as likely to leave the workplace toilets with damp hands, compared to their bathroom at home, and that a majority blame the drying equipment, means there is an opportunity for employers to improve hand hygiene by providing better equipment.”

To access the WHO’s guide to hand hygiene, click here. 

Coronavirus advice for employers

This hub page complies all the latest government coronavirus updates. It includes what you can and cannot do in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, workplace advice from multiple sources, including information on welcoming staff back to the workplace and the latest vaccination information.

It also contains a host of useful external links and resources to find further information.

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