General Health Tips
|HomboldtHealth.org is committed to providing high quality, practical health information for our patients and readers. In this section, we offer helpful articles and health tips by clinical professionals to keep you up to date on goo health practices.|
Employers have every right to reprimand employees for not maintaining a clean workplace. They also has every right to demand personal cleanliness, including hand washing and regular showers. The reason is simple. Workplace dirt can lead to disease and lower employee moral. Infection is caused by pathogens ('bugs') such as fungi, protozoa, viruses, and bacteria getting onto or into the body. An infected person may unwittingly spread the disease during the incubation period because it take a while before the microbes multiply enough to trigger symptoms of illness. The purpose of infection control in the workplace is to prevent pathogens from coming into contact with a person in the first place.
Infection control procedures relating to cleanliness in the workplace include: Regularly washing surfaces such as tables and bench tops, bathrooms and floors with detergent and hot water, and; Washing ceilings and walls periodically. Cloths, brushes, and mops should be thoroughly washed and dried after each use. Since many pathogens rely on moisture to live, drying cloths and mops is of particular importance. To clean up bodily fluid spills such as blood, always use disenfectants. Always use gloves when using disinfectants, always follow the manufacturer's directions, and clean the surfaces before using the disinfectant. Spot clean when necessary.
When dealing with spills of body fluids such as feces, urine, saliva, and blood infection all control procedures should be followed carefully, including isolation of the area, wearing eye protection, a plastic apron, and gloves. Use a releasing agent of granular chlorine to cover the spill for at least 10 minutes or soak up the fluid with disposable paper towels. Scoop up waste and granules using a piece of cardboard, or the equivalent, place in a plastic bag, and dispose of appropriately. Mix 10 parts water to one part bleach and apply to the area for 10 minutes. Wash with detergent and hot water. Then dry the area and dispose of gloves and paper towels appropriately. Wash your hands. Rinse any contaminated clothing in cold running water, soak in bleach solution for half an hour, then wash separately from other linen or clothing with detergent and hot water.
To dispose of infectious waste that has been contaminated with body fluids or blood, place waste in plastic bags marked as "infectious waste" and, dispose of waste in accordance with EPA regulations, all while wearing heavy duty gloves. When handling sharp contaminated objects such as needles, never attempt to bend or re cap used needles. Always handle by the barrel. Place in an appropriate yellow container, which is puncture proof, marked with a black bio hazard symbol, and properly labeled as contaminated sharps. Should you come in contact with body fluids or blood, immediately flush the area with running water and then wash the area with plenty of soap and warm water. Report the incident to the appropriate staff member and then record the incident to the Disease/injury/near miss/accident (DINMA). Seek medical advice as necessary. Much of the responsibility of the cleaning effort can be relinquished if you have a good janitorial cleaning service.
Employers and occupational safety and health representatives should investigate all incidents involving contact with body fluids or blood, and take the necessary action to prevent a similar incident from happening again. Employers are obliged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) to provide a safe workplace for their employees, including the provision for the right equipment and training and adequate infection control procedures.
Workplace cleanliness is also very important for employee moral. Just like you want your customers to have a good impression of your business you will also want your employees to have the same impression. A dirty and ugly workplace will reduce overall moral and increase turnover of employees. If you don't respect your business there will be a good chance that they won't respect it either. Assume that you have a dirty work area like that typically found in warehouses and garages and warehouses. The office has oil all over it, the bathrooms are full of graffiti, the garbage cans are overflowing, the floors are dark and full of dirt, and the bathrooms are full of have graffiti. After seeing this your workers say to themselves "what a mess" and perpetuate the problem by continuing to throw their stuff around because it is useless to be the only person taking care of the property.
A clean business can help in recruiting and maintaining the best qualified employees, leave a positive impression to other businesses, decrease the long term cost of building maintenance, help maintain morale, and reduce injuries. It should also be understood that when appropriate maintenance and upkeep is done on the building when they are needed the organization can save money in the long run. Neglecting the necessary maintenance and the protective qualities of a fresh coat of paint can cause major water and structural damage later on. After all you wouldn't think of not doing maintenance on your equipment would you?