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Ensuring Hand Hygiene Compliance in the Food Industry

June 4, 2020 Ofir Broides Vavker

Hand hygiene compliance is an important subject in the food industry. Studies have shown that employees in the food industry don’t wash their hands as often as they should according to FDA guidelines. A certain study showed employees in the food industry washed their hands only 27% of the times that they should have. A different study showed the presence of salmonella on 48% of the employee’s hands and other harmful bacteria on 65%, despite reporting good hand hygiene practices and relevant knowledge. In many cases, understanding the problem constitutes a major part of the solution. On top of being a major milestone in any data collection, understanding why your employees act the way they do helps tailor the solution to your business’ specific needs. Why do workers not adhere to hand hygiene protocols, especially in the food industry?

There are a number of answers to this question:

Not understanding the importance of it

Hand hygiene is vitally important to maintaining a safe work environment, both for the employee and for the customer receiving the product. Some employees don’t understand why hand washing works in the elimination of germs and viruses. Explaining the science behind it can help employees understand why they are expected to follow protocols.

Not having the right knowledge

Even if employees want to wash their hands thoroughly, they don’t always have the tools to do so. Knowing how to wash your hands is nearly as important as why you should do it to begin with.

Not having enough sinks

The availability of sinks plays a major part in hand hygiene compliance. Research suggests employees that don’t have enough available sinks in the workspace – specifically in their line of view – don’t wash their hands as often as they should. Having an open sink in sight reminds employees to wash their hands.

Priorities

In the busy work setting, time is of the essence. Many employees feel like they don’t have the time to wash their hands between tasks. Employees must understand that hand washing is not only important, it is a priority for the workplace. Making the time to wash your hands leads to a lesser chance of transferring infectious diseases from person to person.

What can your business do to improve hand hygiene compliance?

Regular refreshing of hand hygiene procedures in the workplace can help employees keep hand washing in mind throughout the workday. This can also give them access to important information such as why you should wash your hands often and how to do so effectively.

Having dispensers mounted closer to the source of pathogens can remind employees to wash their hands regularly after dealing with said pathogens. A greater number of sinks and sanitizing dispensers can also help employees wash their hands more often.

Ensuring warm water in cold climates can help employees wash their hands even when it is uncomfortable to do so. Dispensers that work through recognizing hand movements rather than touch result in an increase in hand hygiene events by more than 50%.

Monitoring compliance has been proven as a useful tool in increasing compliance rate among workers. With workers having a personal obligation to their employers, they keep a better track of the number of times they washed their hands throughout the workday. This also helps managers understand which parts of their facilities need help in bettering their hand washing techniques and protocols, resulting in a more hygienic work environment.

Soapy’s solution

Soapy offers a unique solution, tailored to create a high hand hygiene standard in work facilities. The ECO micro-station utilizes AI technology to ensure a perfect wash cycle every time, measuring the length of time needed for a thorough wash and highlighting problem areas on the skin. The smart machine dispenses the exact amount of soap and warm water needed, saving hundreds of dollars a year in soap, water, and electricity bills. The ECO micro-station has a facial recognition feature, allowing managers access to important hand hygiene data stored on the Soapy Wisdom platform. If you’re interested in learning more about the ECO micro-station, you can contact us here.

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