Washy Washy: The key to keeping employees healthy

proper hand washing

The best way to keep the flu away

The cruise lines finally get the importance of handwashing. Does your organization? I recently took a cruise. I haven’t been on one for some time. One important change I experienced was the handwashing regimen implemented on the ship. Outside of the buffet dining room, soap and water handwashing stations aligned the walls. One crew member was designated as Washy Washy. Her only job was to stand in front of the dining room door and continuously yell, “washy washy”. Other crew members held bottles of hand sanitizer and squirted it into the hands of people trying to dodge Washy Washy.

This may not be the best way to remind your employees to wash their hands. However, there are many things you can do in a more professional way to encourage your employees to practice good hand hygiene.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. Now that the flu season is in full swing, it’s a good idea to remind employees to keep their hands clean. Do you have hand sanitizer stations throughout your facility? Or, do you hang signs around the facility to remind employees to wash hands? You can also include the following CDC techniques for washing hands for both hand sanitizer and soap and water.

Techniques for handwashing

The CDC recommends cleaning hands in a specific way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The guidance for effective handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer was developed based on data from a number of studies. While the organization states soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizer, hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) is effective and should be used when water is not available. Here are the organization’s recommendations:

How to use hand sanitizer

  1. Put the hand sanitizer on your hands and rub your hands together.
  2. Cover all surfaces until your hands feel dry.
  3. This process should take about 20 seconds.

Using soap and water to clean hands

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Remember, “washy washy” keeps the germs away.

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