Educating employees about health issues and instituting policies and procedures for both sanitary working conditions and cleanliness are some of the best ways to improve personnel hygiene. Work environments that are unsanitary and pose health hazards can lead to sick employees, increasing the amount of time they must take off work to get well. Hygiene and workplace safety is particularly important for food service employees due to the risk of contamination and food-borne illness.
Hand washing is one of the best ways to improve personnel hygiene. Employees should wash their hands before and after touching food, chemicals, or other contaminated surfaces and after using the restroom. Washing for at least 30 seconds with warm water and antibacterial soap helps eliminate bacteria and germs on the hands. Encouraging employees to scrub under their nails can help prevent bacteria from accumulating that could be spread to food and other surfaces. Disposable paper towels or hand dryers are more sanitary than fabric towels.
In an office setting, desk cleanliness and equipment cleaning is vital to preserving personnel hygiene and preventing the spread of illness. Keyboards, telephones, and other office equipment harbor bacteria that can lead to illness. Instructing employees to avoid touching their faces before using office equipment can help keep it clean. Desks, keyboards, telephones, and other frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned at least weekly with antibacterial cleaner or wipes.
Common areas, such as employee break rooms and kitchens, can accumulate bacteria quickly. Instituting policies for cleaning these areas by designating a particular person or group to clean them on certain days can help minimize unsanitary conditions. Employees who bring food or drinks to work should make sure they are properly sealed and stored. Any spills should be cleaned up immediately, particularly in places that are used by several people, such as refrigerators and microwaves.
Educating employees about the potential consequences of unsanitary working conditions can help keep cleanliness and personal hygiene fresh in employees' minds. Placing posters or signs in working areas and bathrooms can help encourage employees to follow hygiene guidelines. Providing written materials or human resource presentations on illness and food contamination can also aid in overall personnel hygiene.
Employees who work with food that will be consumed by customers must take extra care to preserve personnel hygiene. Policies that prevent food service workers from coming to work if they are sick or have large open wounds or sores helps minimize contamination hazards. Employees should follow guidelines instituted in the workplace that require them to wear clean clothes and protective coverings, such as aprons and gloves, when preparing food. Hair should be restrained in hairnets or beard nets to prevent contamination.