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Is your office a breeding ground for germs?

by , 28 March 2013
Did you know that just by being present in a room, you can add 37 million bacteria to the air every hour?

What happens is that by simply entering a room, you stir up material left behind by previous occupants from the floor.

Researchers found about 18% of all bacterial emissions in the room — including both fresh and previously deposited bacteria — came from humans as opposed to plants and other sources.

Of the 15 most abundant varieties of bacteria identified in the room studied, four are directly associated with humans, including the most abundant, Propionibacterineae common on human skin.
Germs and bacteria are easily spread throughout workplace environments. Because there're  several people in close quarters, it's no wonder how quickly colds and flu can spread throughout the office.
To keep healthy, observe proper hygiene in your workplace!
Health hazards are often present in places where you'd least expect it. Knowing what actions to take can protect you and your co-workers.
Do you know how to elect your company's Health and Safety Representative?
Save yourself time and make things easier. 
Why you should make housekeeping and hygiene a priority
If you're committed to the health and safety of your employees, a clean, neat workplace is a MUST!
Your workers will benefit and that means that your company will benefit.
A healthy, safe worker is a happy worker, and a clean working environment produces quality work and product, which increases your profits through effective, efficient work output.
You have a duty to protect yourself and others from injuries and illness while you carry out your work. Part of this process includes housekeeping and hygiene (Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Section 14.1)
The basic rules of housekeeping apply to all companies, no matter how large or small.
Reasons why you need to maintain a safe, healthy and hygienic workplace
  • You must keep floors, walls, windows, doors and ceilings clean and free of dust. Inhaled dust can make you ill.
  • Dust can also encourage fires to burn if there are sparks and oxygen present.
  • Dirt and grime on walls, windows, floors and ceilings breed bacteria and can cause you to become ill.
  • Your facilities for eating, cooking and personal hygiene must comply with the regulations (OHSA Facilities Regulations 2.1) and Parts F, P, and Q of the National Building Regulations.You need to clean these areas more regularly and very carefully. They're areas where there's a high potential for transferring bacteria, diseases and germs.
Train your employees about efficient housekeeping rules and hygiene. Don't know how? We've got that covered. Refer to chapter H01 on Housekeeping and Hygiene of your Health and Safety Training Manual.
I'll show you how to maintain a safe, healthy and hygienic work environment from an employee's work desk to the kitchen, and train your employees to do the same!
Tips on how to maintain a safe hygienic work environment
Make sure your employees keep their desks clean
Research conducted states that office desks have 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
The study revealed that women's desks were four times more contaminated than men's even though they appear to be neater. The reason is women tend to apply makeup at their desks, eat, and use lotions and creams that allow germs to spread more easily.
Encourage employees to clean their desks periodically with antibacterial wipes and sprays.
Provide antibacterial wipes so they can clean their desk surface, computer keyboard and handsets of the phone daily.
Make sure they don't store food in the desk.
Encourage employees to use an antibacterial hand sanitizer
We shake hands with co-workers, handle cell phones, our wallets and many other items at work daily. These can all cause germs to quickly spread throughout the close quarters of your office.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap throughout the day, and keep a bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer handy as well. It helps kill germs and can significantly reduce the chances of getting sick.
MYTH: Health and safety training is expensive and time-consuming
WARNING: This is controversial. Do not read on if you're unprepared to face the truth about health and safety training…

Clean the Kitchen/Break Room Regularly
Make sure employees wash their coffee mug's regularly with warm water and soap, instead of simply rinsing and reusing.
If there is a refrigerator available, keep lunch there until you're ready to eat.
It's important to keep the kitchen or break room clean at all times.
Make sure the area is stocked with dishwashing liquid, antibacterial all-purpose spray and paper towels at all times.
You can make a cleaning schedule designating a day when each employee is responsible for sweeping and wiping down the hard surfaces like countertops, tables, microwave and the refrigerator with antibacterial spray if you don't have an in-house cleaner.
Remember your chapter on Housekeeping and Hygiene in the Health and Safety Training Manual will show you how to do the following:
  • How to safely store tools, equipment and any other articles you may need to use to do your work;
  • How to keep workstation's neat, tidy and clean;
  • How to clean and sanitise floors, walls, windows, doors and ceilings to keep it free from dust;
  • How to keep the your canteens, kitchens and ablutions (basins, foot baths, showers, toilets and changing areas) clean; and
  • How to do swab testing.
Until next time,
Happy cleaning!

Kerusha Narothan

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