Hand Hygiene: Are You Doing It Right?

Studies suggest around 80 per cent of all infectious diseases – including Influenza and the common cold – are spread by touch. Stopping those infections before they have a chance to spread is critical. The simplest way is through basic hand hygiene.

This should not be difficult. And yet, despite the fact we all do it (or at least should do it) several times a day, it seems we don’t always get it right. Let’s break it down a bit.

Are you washing your hands at the right time?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has developed a highly effective set of guidelines to help improve hand hygiene in healthcare settings. These “five moments of hand hygiene” recommend healthcare workers should wash their hands:

  • before touching a patient
  • before clean/aseptic procedures
  • after body fluid exposure/risk
  • after touching a patient
  • after touching patient surroundings

The same principles can be applied to almost any setting. From this it follows that we should all wash our hands:

  • before handling food
  • after going to the toilet
  • after coughing, sneezing or using a tissue
  • when switching between handling raw food ingredients meat and ready-to-eat or cooked foods
  • after handling money
  • after handling waste or litter
  • after touching dirty surfaces
  • after picking up something from the floor
  • after any other activity that contaminates hands

Are you doing it right?

We all think we know how to wash our hands properly, but studies show that we generally do not. Most of the time we don’t spend enough time to let soaps or sanitisers to do their job. Or we don’t apply soap or sanitiser to the whole hand. That means the pathogens that cause illnesses can remain on our hands and spread to other people or contaminate new surfaces. The NHS has a useful video that shows how to wash hands properly.

Are you using effective products?

In many situations, using soap and water will be good enough to clean the hands. In other settings, such as health care and food service, a suitable hand disinfectant can provide additional protection and assurance. Diversey offers a complete range of products including soaps, sanitisers and creams that can be used in different settings and industries to provide the right level of hygiene, protection and infection prevention.

Are these products readily available?

Whatever products are used, it is important to ensure they are available whenever they are needed. That means providing a suitable product at the point of use, checking bottles or dispensers regularly throughout the day and topping up as necessary.

Diversey’s IntelliCare system helps to improve hand hygiene convenience and compliance. The dispenser can be used with a wide range of hand care products – soaps, sanitisers and creams – so that operators can choose the one most suited to their specific requirement.

Each product is supplied in the same design and size of pouch to enable complete interchangeability and flexibility. The pouches are larger than average which, combined with the dispenser’s excellent dosing control, ensures the maximum interval between refills. The dispenser usually operates in contactless mode but switches automatically to manual mode if its battery becomes depleted. It also issues alerts when product or battery levels are getting low so that they can be replaced before they run out. All of this helps to ensure hand hygiene products are always available.

You can learn more about IntelliCare in our introductory video:

Sustainable Hand Hygiene

Although food safety will be a priority, businesses serving food face many other regulatory and market-driven pressures, not least to adopt processes that are more sustainable. Choosing the right kitchen hygiene products can contribute to both areas.

Food safety is always critical. The majority of food-related illnesses are caused by bacteria. According to the Food Standards Agency, campylobacter causes the most cases – over 250,000 a year – of food poisoning in the UK with E.coli and salmonella also affecting large numbers. Each of these causes unnecessary suffering as well as disruption and loss of reputation to any business whose staff or customers become ill. Listeria monocytogenes causes the most food poisoning deaths although the numbers are very small. Around 40% of all food poisoning outbreaks are the result of poor hand hygiene and cross contamination.

The average person’s hands can carry more than 3000 different types of bacteria and about 100,000 can live on each square centimetre of skin. Many of these are completely harmless but just a few of the wrong type can quickly lead to illness. One bacterium can multiply to over four million in eight hours, so it is clear that keeping hands clean is critical to preventing the spread of infections.

We have known this for a long time and all learn as children to wash our hands before eating and after going to the toilet. Despite this it seems many people continue to ignore this most basic act of personal hygiene.

Hand hygiene products for food service need to be effective yet gentle because they will be used frequently during the day. Modern formulations incorporate highly effective biocidal ingredients as well as emollients that help preserve the skin’s natural protective barrier and keep hands soft. They should not include perfumes to avoid tainting food. Leading suppliers offer a choice and are able to recommend the best option for any particular setting.

Another key issue facing food service businesses is to make their operations more sustainable by using less water, energy and cleaning products. There are lots of ways of doing this without compromising the quality of the food or the safety of customers and staff. Replacing conventional cleaning warewashing and laundry products with innovative formulations that are effective at lower temperatures can be a simple first step.

A further option is to replace ready-to-use or traditional bulk products with ultra-concentrates. Used with simple and convenient wall-mounted or portable dosing and dilution control equipment, ultra concentrates support sustainability by enabling safe, simple and consistent high-performance cleaning while minimising wastage, packaging and chemical miles. Products available as ultra-concentrates cover all key kitchen hygiene tasks including hand hygiene.

Recently, cleaning product suppliers have devised novel formulations that utilise environmentally-friendly ingredients to provide further choices to customers who want to demonstrate the highest levels of environmental responsibility. These are typically derived from plant-based renewable resources such as by-products originating from sugar beet, maize and other common foodstuffs. When products like these are available in ultra-concentrate formulations they provide an additional sustainability benefit.

Kitchen Hygiene In Hospitals

In a previous post, we outlined the significance of hand hygiene and surface disinfection for kitchen hygiene and food safety in hospitals and care homes. Anything that can break the chain that allows infections to spread by personal contact or touching a contaminated surface will reduce the risk of outbreaks of food-related illnesses.

Our kitchen hygiene products include sanitisers and cleaners for all common surfaces found in kitchens and dining areas. Suma Bac D10, for example, is a general purpose cleaner-sanitiser for a wide range of tasks including hand dishwashing and cleaning worktops or floors. It is highly effective against a broad range of infections (pathogens) found in food service settings. Suma D2.3 is an ideal multipurpose cleaner for non-food preparation areas including floors, walls, doors, ceilings and general equipment. It cuts through grease and dried-on food soiling and leaves a sparkling clean surface.

Like many products in our Suma kitchen hygiene range, Suma Bac D10 and Suma D2.3 can be supplied as ultra-concentrates to promote sustainability, simplicity and lower overall cost in use.

With our popular Divermite system, products are supplied in sealed pouches that are placed in a wall-mounted dispenser for simplicity and convenience. Users can dose a fixed amount of product into a sink, spray bottle or bucket at the push of a button for consistent preparation of cleaning solutions with no wastage.

Our SmartDose system represents an ideal way to introduce ultra concentrates into any cleaning operation. Its compact pack size makes it easy to carry and there is no need for a connection to a water supply. The innovative cap design allows users to dispense an accurate amount of product in two different volumes, chosen by twisting the cap to one side or the other. This two-in-one dosing simplicity enables the consistent preparation of solutions in spray bottles, sinks, buckets or cleaning machines.

We also offer a complete range of dishwashing products for hand washing and all major types of dishwashing machine. These include Suma Combi+, a unique formulation for mechanical dishwashers that contains detergent and rinse-aid in a single product. This helps to simplify processes and promote consistent results.

Suma Nova is a concentrated liquid detergent for mechanical warewashing. It provides excellent soil removal in hard water conditions. Suma Rinse is a proven rinse-aid that helps washed items dry quickly and with a spot and streak-free finish.

All of these products can be supplied in a choice of container types and size – including five-litre concentrates – for use with auto-dosing equipment. 

We have recently reduced the price of many of our dishwashing products, including Suma Nova and Suma Rinse, to make them even more cost-effective and value for money than ever before.

We’ll be highlighting these and many other products from our extensive kitchen hygiene ranges at the forthcoming HCA Forum at the Celtic Manor on 11-12 April.

Hand Hygiene for Hospital Caterers

Around 40% of all food poisoning outbreaks are the result of poor hand hygiene and cross contamination. Most food-related illnesses are caused by bacteria: according to the Food Standards Agency, campylobacter causes over 250,000 cases of food poisoning in the UK each year. E.coli and salmonella also affect large numbers.

Hospital patients and care home residents can be particularly vulnerable to any outbreak of food-borne illness that would be little more than inconvenient to otherwise fit and healthy people. Hospital and care home catering staff therefore need to be extra vigilant.

Food can be contaminated from direct touching or placing items on infected surfaces. Kitchen staff can become infected by personal contact or touching a contaminated surface. Poor hand hygiene can also cause issues with equipment such as ice machines, beverage equipment and water dispensers if staff operate them with dirty hands.

This is why personal hygiene and surface sanitising are both so important in any health-related food service operation. Mistakes that lead to illness can cause suffering to patients, residents and staff while also disrupting the operation and diminishing its reputation. In the worst cases, this can lead to poor statutory food hygiene ratings and even temporary or permanent closure.

Food service staff should wash their hands between tasks, including when switching between handling raw and cooked items. That can mean a lot of washing during a normal day. Conventional soaps can strip natural oils which protect the skin, leading to an increased risk of damage through conditions such as dermatitis. Hand hygiene products therefore need to be effective yet gentle. Modern formulations incorporate highly effective biocidal ingredients as well as emollients to preserve the skin’s natural protective barrier and keep hands soft. They should not include perfumes to avoid tainting food.

To meet these challenges, Diversey offers the revolutionary IntelliCare hand hygiene system. IntelliCare dispenses globally-trusted hand care formulations in our Soft Care and SURE ranges. These comprise a complete set of soaps, sanitisers and creams meeting a wide range of international infection prevention standards. SURE products demonstrate the highest levels of environmental responsibility with 100% plant-based, 100% biodegradable formulations.

With hand washing the most effective way to prevent the spread of infections, the dispenser helps maintain uninterrupted availability of soaps and foams for maximum hand hygiene compliance. Typically configured for touchless operation, it seamlessly shifts to manual mode if battery power is lost.

Products are supplied in 1.3 litre pouches containing more doses than conventional systems to extend replacement intervals. Standardised pouches for all products enable total flexibility to choose the right formulation. The tamper-proof design utilises less plastics per millilitre of product than alternatives. All materials are fully-recyclable.

IntelliCare is one of the products we’re featuring at the forthcoming HCA Forum (11-12 April, Celtic Manor, South Wales).

Sustainable Hand Hygiene

Although food safety will be a priority, businesses serving food face many other regulatory and market-driven pressures, not least to adopt processes that are more sustainable. Choosing the right kitchen hygiene products can contribute to both areas.

Food safety is always critical. The majority of food-related illnesses are caused by bacteria. According to the Food Standards Agency, campylobacter causes the most cases – over 250,000 a year – of food poisoning in the UK with E.coli and salmonella also affecting large numbers. Each of these causes unnecessary suffering as well as disruption and loss of reputation to any business whose staff or customers become ill. Listeria monocytogenes causes the most food poisoning deaths although the numbers are very small. Around 40% of all food poisoning outbreaks are the result of poor hand hygiene and cross contamination.

The average person’s hands can carry more than 3000 different types of bacteria and about 100,000 can live on each square centimetre of skin. Many of these are completely harmless but just a few of the wrong type can quickly lead to illness. One bacterium can multiply to over four million in eight hours, so it is clear that keeping hands clean is critical to preventing the spread of infections.

We have known this for a long time and all learn as children to wash our hands before eating and after going to the toilet. Despite this it seems many people continue to ignore this most basic act of personal hygiene.

Hand hygiene products for food service need to be effective yet gentle because they will be used frequently during the day. Modern formulations incorporate highly effective biocidal ingredients as well as emollients that help preserve the skin’s natural protective barrier and keep hands soft. They should not include perfumes to avoid tainting food. Leading suppliers offer a choice and are able to recommend the best option for any particular setting.

Another key issue facing food service businesses is to make their operations more sustainable by using less water, energy and cleaning products. There are lots of ways of doing this without compromising the quality of the food or the safety of customers and staff. Replacing conventional cleaning warewashing and laundry products with innovative formulations that are effective at lower temperatures can be a simple first step.

A further option is to replace ready-to-use or traditional bulk products with ultra-concentrates. Used with simple and convenient wall-mounted or portable dosing and dilution control equipment, ultra concentrates support sustainability by enabling safe, simple and consistent high-performance cleaning while minimising wastage, packaging and chemical miles. Products available as ultra-concentrates cover all key kitchen hygiene tasks including hand hygiene.

Recently, cleaning product suppliers have devised novel formulations that utilise environmentally-friendly ingredients to provide further choices to customers who want to demonstrate the highest levels of environmental responsibility. These are typically derived from plant-based renewable resources such as by-products originating from sugar beet, maize and other common foodstuffs. When products like these are available in ultra-concentrate formulations they provide an additional sustainability benefit.