Door handles are one of the biggest risks for picking up bacteria in a public building, due to the constant contact with everyone’s hands. Another issue around door handles is they are generally made from stainless steel – this is an ideal material for bacteria to thrive upon.
In a work environment, some bacteria can survive on door handles for weeks, meaning viruses can potentially spread from person to person incredibly quickly. This is why it’s vital to ensure your cleaning regimen includes daily cleansing of every public door handle in the workplace.
During cold and flu season it’s often the case that once one person get sick, everyone around them does too, and time off for illness can be very costly for your business. According to the latest statistics, last year, illnesses such as coughs and colds were the most common reason to call in sick and they added up to 34 million days off work in the UK alone (24.8% of the total).
So if you want to reduce your sickness absence levels amongst the staff, something as simple as making sure cleaners focus on the door handles could make a huge difference to your business and to your staff health.
Lots of different viruses can cause us to catch a cold and many of these can live on indoor surfaces, particularly the non-porous kind like stainless steel, for up to seven days. Generally though, they become ineffective and unable to spread an infection after around 24 hours, which is why regular cleaning really helps.
The viruses which cause flu are also able to survive on hard surfaces for around 24 hours, so if someone with flu touches the door handle, everyone else who touches that handle for the next 24 hours is being put at risk.
Also more worrying are the nasty stomach bugs such as E-Coli and Clostridium Difficile, as well as norovirus. All of these can survive for weeks on hard surfaces like door handles, which is why the infection can spread like wildfire through an office potentially. Other nasties which can survive for weeks on door handles include MRSA.
However, preventing the spread of infection can be made simpler by providing appropriate hand washing and sanitising facilities in the toilet areas for all staff and encouraging them to wash their hands perhaps with polite notices.
Viruses can also be spread from droplets in the air from people coughing and sneezing, which will land on desks, tables and other hard surfaces so a proper cleaning regime needs to include all of the hard surfaces in the building as well as the door handles and bathroom area.
Thorough cleaning of your building on a regular basis has a dual benefit to your company. Firstly, it will help to keep your staff healthy and well, by preventing the spread of nasty infections, which means you are looking after your staff as a caring employer, but also means you don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of having lots of staff off sick at the same time.
Secondly, lowering your staff absence levels, and therefore not having to pay for emergency or temporary staff cover, will save your business time and money. Who knew that something as simple as cleaning your door handles daily could make such a difference to a business!
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