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Handwashing an Effective Way to Control
Pathogen Spread
  Employee handwashing is considered to be among the most effective ways to help control the spread of illnesses in foodservice operations.
Frequent, thorough washing of the hands is often inconvenient, time consuming and irritating to the skin.
If the handwash sink and soap dispenser are inconveniently located, employees will be less likely to wash their hands at the appropriate times. Additionally, employees recognizing when to wash their hands mainly comes as a result of proper training. In order to overcome these and other factors that have caused handwashing compliance levels to remain low, standards and products must be developed and implemented by the foodservice industry to specifically address handwashing practices.
Hand Care Regulations Nothing New
In the 19th century, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis became the first to document that handwashing is among the most important factors for reducing the spread of illnesses. In fact, poor personal hygiene is the second leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks, only behind bacterial agents. It has been estimated that nearly 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths can be attributed to foodborne illness each year in the United States alone.
Workers in foodservice industries must wash their hands several times an hour to meet the requirements for illness prevention as set forth by several agencies, including FDA and the CDC. These documents discuss cleaning procedures, frequency, required facilities, hand soaps and hand sanitizers.
Compliance Remains Low
The facts relating to the need for adequate handwashing practices and the regulatory guidelines are well known, yet compliance remains alarmingly low due to a variety of factors and the compliance differs across different industries.
Typically, there is extensive education and training in the healthcare industry, and handwashing is stressed as an integral part of the healthcare regimen. Because healthcare personnel work with patients on a daily basis, they generally have a better understanding of the importance and methods of disease prevention.
Meanwhile, the initial education and training for workers in the foodservice industry is often limited. High turnover rates and the lack of any formal training in disease prevention can lead to lower compliance levels. Yet raising compliance levels for handwashing protocols could still be achieved in this industry by providing hand care products that are less irritating, more moisturizing and convenient to use, as well as adding compliance monitoring systems.
Proper Handwashing Tools and Techniques  
In the 2005 Food Code, the FDA defines proper handwashing techniques as using a good hand soap, rubbing hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds, paying special attention to areas near and under fingernails, and thorough rinsing under clean running water. The 2005 Food Code also recommends that hand wash sinks be conveniently located within easy reach of the employee.
The sinks must not be obstructed by equipment or other items that may interfere with employee access, and there should be an adequate flow of warm water. A warm water temperature at handwash sinks significantly influences compliance levels and efficacy, and is more effective than cold water for removing soils encountered in kitchens.
Article Source: http://www.foodqualityandsafety.com/article/cleanliness-is-next-to-effectiveness/
It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.
Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%.
The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8% among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students.
      Amasht Paper Hygiene Products Pvt. Ltd.
S.No.23, Thergaon, Pune 411 033
email: amasht@vsnl.com www.amasht.net