Everyone carries germs. Our bodies are covered with germs most of which help us to stay healthy. In addition to the germs that are normally present we also pick up harmful germs and bacteria from contact with other people and objects in our surroundings. These bacteria are easy to pick up and transfer. In this way, they can cause you to get sick. Although people often think that most bacteria are spread through the air, the fact is that most are transferred through hand contact. This is especially the case in washroom and toilet areas.
Hand hygiene is fundamental to reducing the spread of bacteria and common infectious diseases, such as the common cold and influenza, as well as the spread of more serious diseases. This applies as much or more in the workplace as it does at home. Thorough and regular hand washing and effective hand drying aids in the reduction and removal of potentially harmful bacteria from the hands.
The provision of an effective hand drying system will lead to a lower transmission rate of the common "bugs", and a lesser rate of staff absenteeism when "flu" season arrives.
Hand washing and effective drying reduces cross contamination among washroom users, in fact hand washing and effective drying can decrease the bacteria present on hands by up to 80%.
More companies are realising that the promotion of regular hand washing and drying within their business is vital in reducing the level of cross contamination that occurs within the workplace and helps to significantly reduce absenteeism.
Some facts about hand hygiene:
Hand hygiene is the single most important measure to reduce the burden of bacteria transmitted
In everyday life research has shown that:
• Only 5% of people using washrooms wash their hands long enough to kill the germs
that cause infections*;
• 33% of people do not use soap .
• 10% of people don’t wash their hands at all.
Because people don't wash properly it increases the need for hand drying systems that will remove the most residual dirt/bacteria and loose skin particles, and dry the hands as fast as possible in order to achieve the most hygienic results.
Crucially, as the transmission of bacteria is more likely to occur from wet skin than
from dry skin, the proper drying of hands after washing is an essential component of
hand hygiene. Wet hands that touch a surface will contaminate a clean surface - or be contaminated by a dirty one - more quickly than properly dried hands.
Once effectively dried, the risk of re-contamination of hands is hugely
The general public's biggest myth is that air dryers are the most hygienic method of hand drying. Studies have shown them to be the worst method. The pros and cons of using of both paper towel systems and air towel systems are investigated on following pages.