Hand Hygiene 101: Creating a Hygiene Culture
by Joe Johnson, on May 27,2020
A hand hygiene culture is a unified mindset across the organization that puts health and safety at the forefront of everything done within the business, both physically and mentally. If an effective hygiene culture is in place, everything from the layout and design of a facility to how an employee thinks about their own personal hygiene, should all be considered through the lens of of your hygiene goals. By having a culture of hygiene you can expect to reduce the risk of human error because there is a true understanding of the importance of the processes. The diagram below displays the various aspects of effective hygiene culture and how they must all work together.
To further develop this culture and promote good hand hygiene practices, it is key to:
Uphold Personal Hand Hygiene Standards
Hand hygiene doesn’t begin at the workplace. Every employee has a responsibility to uphold their own personal hand hygiene to ensure consumer safety and should be prepared before entering the facility.
Stay Aware of Contamination Points
It’s key to continually reinforce good PPE behaviors and remind employees to avoid potential contamination touch points by:
- Putting PPE on the right way and following proper donning order in hygiene zones
- Checking PPE for damage or deterioration, and knowing when to replace
- Avoiding PPE adjustment, touching various surfaces like buttons and handrails, and human behaviors and unconscious actions like scratching your nose and eyes
Keep Hand Hygiene Part of the Conversation
Proper hygiene practices must be constantly reinforced so that team members can memorize the SSOPs, embrace a mindset of hygiene excellence, and take an active role in upholding the hygiene culture at your facility.
- Hygiene Safety Days are regularly occurring hygiene training days that should happen throughout the year. This will help you emphasise the importance of hygiene and reinforce your SSOP's and training.
- Huddle Talks are a great pre-shift conversation point to discuss hand hygiene and remind employees of its importance.
- Hygiene Safety Committees should be open to individuals from all departments and all levels of your organization. The purpose of this committee is to bring attention to any issues in the facility that can affect consumer safety as well as find new ways to communicate the importance of proper handwashing to team members throughout the year.
Ensure Everyone Thinks Like an Owner
It is important to put everyone on a flat line of hygiene leadership and accountability, and ensure that everyone is “Thinking Like an Owner”. For hygiene this looks like:
- Always preforming proper hand wash steps for the correct amount of time to ensure pathogen removal and safety for consumers.
- Hold all other members of the team accountable for proper hand hygiene.
- Maintain hygiene stations and alert those responsible when they need to be serviced or solution is low.
For further reading please explore our Hand Hygiene eBook. This will compare the most commonly used handwashing methods, review the importance of skin health for hand hygiene, and explore how to reinforce good hand hygiene behaviors with employees.