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Hand Hygiene / Infection Control / Hand Soap / Hand Sanitizer
November 2010 Feature 3

Enhancing Health, Wellbeing And Facility Image

The availability of instant hand sanitizers can reinforce proper hand hygiene.

February 01, 2011
KEYWORDS hand / health / hygiene / sanitizer
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A 2008 study by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) — formerly the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) — revealed that 46 percent of hand washers don't wash long enough to even be effective.

That fact underscores the importance — and the popularity — of alcohol-based instant hand sanitizers, especially when used in conjunction with hand soaps in the away-from-home market.

"When an instant hand sanitizing dispenser is placed by a restroom exit, it complements and reinforces the practice of proper hand hygiene," says Kathleen Hooker, marketing director at GOJO Industries Inc. "This heightens the sense of health and well-being for restroom users and enhances the professional image of buildings."

Restroom appearance and building image are positively impacted because restroom users can resist the urge to avoid germs by opening exit doors with paper towels, which are then discarded near doorways.

In addition, building managers who provide hand sanitizers show that they care about the comfort and wellbeing of tenants and visitors.

Instant hand sanitizers are of even greater importance in situations where water is not readily available.

For instance, students — younger kids, especially — tend not to always take full advantage of nearby soap and water sources, and several studies have indicated a connection between proper hand hygiene and illness-related absenteeism in schools.

One such study, "Effect of hand sanitizer use on elementary school absenteeism," which was published in the American Journal of Infection Control in 2000, involved five school districts and 6,000 students in four states.

The overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection was 19.8 percent for schools that used an alcohol gel hand sanitizer compared with the control schools, which did not make hand sanitizers available.

Healthcare facilities are another environment in which waterless germ-fighting solutions are critical, since proper hand hygiene compliance is mandatory and the need is frequent.

Studies, such as "Use of alcohol hand sanitizer as an infection control strategy in an acute care facility," which was published in the American Journal of Infection Control in 2003, have proven that using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as an infection control strategy in a hospital setting can reduce infection rates by 36 percent.

"Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub."

Those words of advice, courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), describe "everyday steps to protect your health."

People listened and developed good hand hygiene practices; but, the reality is that germs can be found in the workplace at any time.

The ready availability of instant hand sanitizers in restrooms, as well as in such public areas as lobbies and meeting spaces, can make a major difference in the overall health of individuals working in close proximity to one another.

Sustainable Performance

Another concern of Americans today is greater sustainability.

This is a primary concern within all public sectors, but especially in education and government settings.

Hand hygiene products proven to be more sustainable are a distinct advantage to product users as well as to facility management.

"The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has a green cleaning prerequisite for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) certification," explains Nicole Koharik, global sustainability senior marketing manager at GOJO. "In addition to promoting the health and wellbeing of tenants, employees and building visitors, green certified hand sanitizing solutions are ideal for helping meet the hand hygiene requirements for LEED-EBOM certification."

According to the USGBC, the LEED-EBOM green cleaning prerequisite requires the "development of strategies for promoting and improving hand hygiene, including both handwashing and the use of alcohol-based waterless hand sanitizers."

In addition to being a point of pride for tenants, LEED-EBOM certification is a distinct competitive advantage for building management.

That's why it's no wonder that more than seven billion square feet of commercial space worldwide is LEED-certified.

Of all that you do to provide value for your clients and facilities, nothing could be simpler to implement than hand sanitizers.

Moreover, few safeguard strategies can provide a greater sense of health and wellbeing.

Jeff Trattner, national account director for GOJO® Industries, is responsible for articulating and executing well-being initiatives that result in increased business continuity for firms operating in property-managed and owner-occupied facilities. He has been an active member of national and local business continuity organizations and an advocate for employee health as critical to achieving organizational objectives. Akron, Ohio-based GOJO Industries, inventors of PURELL® Instant Hand Sanitizer and PURELL Green Certified Instant Hand Sanitizer, invented the hand sanitizer category. In addition, GOJO manufactures and distributes a full line of products under the GOJO and PROVON® brand names.

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