The handsink itself is too often considered a commodity and selected on price alone. Soon after installation operators will be adding splash guards as the water stream hits the flat shallow bottom, another discouragement to frequent handwashing. Deep draw handsinks minimize the splash and completely evacuate, leaving no soapy contaminated residuals to grow bacteria. Best practice handsinks also have a bacteriostatic surface which not only arrests the growth of germs but makes the unit easy to clean and very attractive, inviting more frequent use.
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Explore This IssueOctober/November 2013
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Proper gloving adds safety to the handwashing/hand hygiene process. The public is the primary driver of the need for gloves, particularly around sandwich making and other handling of ready-to-eat foods.
Proper gloving first means selecting the right glove for the task, the right size and from a reputable supplier whose quality control spans the Pacific. The temptation to treat gloves as a commodity is tempered by trials.
Tear strength, cut resistance, comfort, ease and speed of donning, and doffing all are important considerations. Changing gloves from task to task is the challenge. Getting employees to change gloves can be harder than achieving handwash compliance. The better the glove, the more likely a timely change.
Infrequent glove changing is largely due to time constraints but the food codes and health inspectors provide another factor. If you are “caught” wearing a glove, clean or contaminated, you earn a positive checkmark. A bare hand earns you a citation from the inspector and a reprimand from your supervisor.
Value-engineering and “green” initiatives periodically compete with handwashing’s best practice choices and they frequently win.
Monitoring measured standards closes the risk-based loop of actions—Assess Risk, Set Standards, Optimize, Train, Monitor. Without it, training is largely wasted and the opportunity to motivate and reward is lost.
Monitoring the quality of the handwash is a key understanding set up in day-one training. Workers learn why and when to wash as well as it being a job-critical measured standard. This is best done by selecting a very personal and visual training option. For example, Handwashing For Life Institute’s ProGrade system uses a UV traceable lotion so the trainee experiences what it takes to achieve the operator-set standard referred to as ServeReady Hands.
The quality of the wash is greatly affected by scrub time. Here a physical timer can help. Some electronic options will monitor elapsed wash time as well as frequency.
Handwash frequency has been largely limited to observation, a major contributing factor to low compliance. Technology assisted case studies commonly demonstrate a doubling of compliance rates when accompanied by a solid implementation process. Science is providing a growing bank of options, including video, infrared, radio frequency identification, and improved manual systems.
Finally, what about those frequently touched seldom cleaned surfaces? These are areas where bacteria can comfortably multiply and reach levels more likely to contain the pathogenic toxins. Setting effective protocols and monitoring results with reliable adenosine triphosphate system helps keep hands clean. Equipment quality, ease of use, and reliability are important characteristics. Without consistency and reliability, this method becomes a disappointing random number generator.
Away-from-home wellness is often in the hands of those serving the public when they dine. The CDC agrees and points out that “Handwashing is the single-most important means of preventing the spread of infection.”
Mann is executive director at the Handwashing For Life Institute. Reach him at email@example.com.
References Furnished Upon Request