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As the outside temperature drops during the autumn and winter months cold and flu viruses often become more prevalent with an estimated 7.6 million working days lost due to flu*. In all food processing sites there should be a clear policy in place that ensures staff who have been affected stay off work until the infection has cleared to prevent the spread to other members of the team.
Colds and flu can be spread by airborne viruses in coughs and sneezes and through cross contamination from touched surfaces. Personal hygiene procedures are important to prevent the spread of the virus at home and within the work area. They should be reinforced through effective hand hygiene products, team training on why, where and when hands should be washed with correct hand washing procedures and clearly displayed posters that explain the procedures. The use of products containing emollients is essential and the use of hand lotions that can be applied to hands after washing also helps minimise skin irritations.
The illustration above demonstrates how to effectively clean hands which should take approx. 45 seconds with experts recommending 20 seconds of scrubbing and rubbing with soap as the most effective duration for hand washing. The In Safe Hands brochure explains in detail policies and procedures to follow.
* - CBI 2010