Hand washing is important for workers health and hygiene

Why the Cleanliness of Your Workplace Restroom Matters

Sept. 6, 2012
A dirty bathroom is more than a nuisance or a potential health hazard: According to a national hand-washing survey, the condition of restrooms in the workplace indicates to employees just how much their company values them.

It turns out that one of the smallest and most private rooms you regularly visit at work – the restroom – plays a role in how employees perceive how they are valued at work.

A new national hand washing survey reveals that the majority of U.S. workers – 83 percent – believe that the state and cleanliness of their workplace restrooms is one indicator of how a company values its employees.

While 66 percent of survey respondents would rate their work bathrooms as “excellent” or “good,” one-third of survey participants complained of problems included clogged toilets, unpleasant odors and jammed toilet paper or towel dispensers.

Hand Washing Realities

Washing your hands after using the restroom is vital for good health and hygiene. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “hand washing is a simple thing to do and it's the best way to prevent infection and illness."

Unfortunately, the survey revealed that the majority of Americans don’t wash their hands long enough: More than half (57 percent) estimate they wash for just 5 to 15 seconds. CDC, however, recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds and suggests singing "Happy Birthday" twice to allow enough time to remove and rinse away germs.

Eleven percent of survey participants said they “frequently” see people leave the bathroom at work without washing their hands – compared to the national results, where 30 percent of Americans claimed to frequently see people skip the sink in public restrooms.

The study was conducted by Bradley Corp., a hand-washing product manufacturer.

About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

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