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Hygiene Systems for the Workplace

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July 2019 | Tuesday 09:32

Practical Hygiene Systems for the Workplace

 

People spend a lot of time in the workplace and it is the responsibility of their employers to ensure that this is a safe environment. For this, they will often retain the services of an accredited occupational health inspector to help identify any possible hazards, assess the risk they might pose, and to determine if existing precautions are adequate. However, basic hygiene measures and effective systems with which to achieve them can be just as important as guardrails, clean air, and earplugs that protect personnel from the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

Absenteeism due to illness costs businesses millions every year and, in many cases, a few simple precautions are sufficient to prevent the spread of common ailments such as colds, sore throats, and flu. While aerosol formation plays a part in their spread, so does direct and indirect contact. Whether via a handshake or a handrail, the use of a disinfectant hand wash is a simple but effective hygiene system that can significantly impede the spread of infection at work.

Germs are invariably present in the dust that tends to settle on any exposed surface and, given sufficient warmth and a trace of moisture, they are able to reproduce at a prodigious rate to form reservoirs of potential infection. In kitchens and food-processing plants, these could contain bacteria that present a risk both to the workers and to the end-products of their labours. In such situations, the introduction of more stringent hygiene systems will be called for. Clean hands alone, however, will not be enough. Thorough cleansing of all work surfaces with a suitable detergent will also be necessary.

While personal and general cleanliness is important in any work environment, as well as in the home, in no other situation is it as crucial as in the food and beverage industry, where neglect or carelessness can result in more than just coughs and colds but could actually lead to widespread loss of life. In this type of environment, adopting effective hygiene systems is not just a recommended option; it is a vital measure to ensure a company’s compliance with the relevant local and international health and safety legislation.

In the washroom, the roller towel is yet another reservoir of infection and while paper towels are a safer option, they carry a cost and can be messy. Far more effective and safer are the warm-air dryers that eliminate all risk of cross-infection between users. Some systems may even include soap dispensers and taps that are activated by proximity sensors to provide an efficient, semi-automated washroom hygiene system that requires no manual contact by the user at all.

For any employer with concerns for their workers and how best to protect them, the available options are numerous and can be confusing. Which of these may be most affordable, what are the recurring costs, and will it be sufficiently effective are just a few of the many questions that will need to be answered. Many South Africans are discovering that, not only does Pescatech have all the necessary answers, but is also in a position to supply world-class hygiene systems from the industry’s leading manufacturers.

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