Speak up – It’s Your Health at Risk
According to a recent report, the work place can be awash with bacteria and a whole range of potential virus infections due to poor hygiene – and it’s costing the economy £13.7 billion a year in sick leave and lost work days.
The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), which prepared the study, did not hold back when they claimed that these costs represented the annual wages of 460,000 office workers, the equivalent of 25 new hospitals.
Poorly maintained washrooms took the brunt of the criticism together with inconsiderate staff that left toilets and other areas unfit for purpose. It seems that leaving a washroom in the state that you would wish to find it simply doesn’t apply to some people – and if there is no one around who is going to properly clear up the mess or take responsibility, then you have the potential for a health hazard
We understand that toilets can be regularly abused in the workplace and this problem is compounded if these facilities are poorly maintained. We advise companies how best to keep washrooms fit for purpose and how such a policy leads to a lower infection risk and happier staff.
The alternatives are facilities that reflect badly on the workplace and business environment with poorly maintained washrooms that can create a huge number of other hazards for the work force. Risk hotspots in the washroom include toilets, flush handles and cubicle handles. Norovirus and bacteria such as Campylobacter can be found in these areas and both can cause gastroenteritis. Germs and bacteria are transferred from surface to hand.
In spite of this research it is clear that many companies are unwilling to invest in new washrooms which according to the report are a false economy when weighed against the potential loss of £700 per employee due to sick days.
It is however possible that no one at the top of the company has actually noticed any link between a poor washroom and the potential for sickness caused by low hygiene standards so it really is down to the staff that use these facilities to speak up – after all it’s their health at risk.