Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Cintas release 12.20

Poll Finds 84 Percent of Employed Americans Go to Work Sick
Be careful whose hand you’re shaking--45 percent of sick workers make no effort to avoid direct contact with others

CINCINNATI — If you’ve ever gone to work sick, a recent study commissioned by Cintas Corporation shows that you’re not alone. The survey, conducted online in November 2012 by Harris Interactive among 2,249 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, revealed that 84 percent of employed adults admit to having ever gone to work while sick. However, of those workers, almost half (45 percent) take no precautions to avoid direct contact with others in the form of shaking hands, fist bumps, etc. Forty-five percent of employed adults who have ever gone to work sick also refrain from warning others of their illness.  

“Workplaces can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria when workers engage in presenteeism, or attending work while sick,” said John Amann, Vice President, First Aid & Safety, Cintas. “Since presenteeism reduces business productivity, it’s important for people to take the proper steps to protect themselves and others, like avoiding contact and warning co-workers of their illness.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. population suffers 1 billion colds each year. Colds and other contagious viruses have the ability to affect the workplace. Although not all employed adults avoid direct contact or warn others when they are sick, the report found that almost all employed adults who have ever gone to work sick do something to protect others. When asked which precautions they take to alleviate their own symptoms and avoid infecting others in the workplace, employed U.S. adults who have ever gone to work sick reported:

•    I regularly wash my hands/use hand sanitizer    77 percent
•    I sneeze/cough into my sleeve    67 percent
•    I bring my own medication to work    54 percent
•    I regularly wipe down my workspace    34 percent

Since the symptoms of illness can affect employees without warning, it’s important for organizations to keep first aid cabinets on-site and well-stocked with appropriate products like decongestant, cold relief, and sore throat relief solutions. These small investments upfront can reduce the impact of sickness and keep workers healthy and productive. Individually-sealed, tamper-evident packets of cough drops and non-drowsy medicine, such as Dayquil and Mucinex, which are offered in Cintas first-aid cabinets, are ideal to eliminate the risk of workers taking the incorrect dosage or using sleep-inducing formulas.

“Employers that are proactive about properly maintaining first aid cabinets demonstrate that they care about workers’ health and wellness,” Amann added. “By stocking cabinets for cold-weather months, employers can keep productivity on track, prevent the escalation of sickness, and reduce OSHA recordable cases.”  

For more information on first-aid and safety solutions from Cintas, please visit www.cintas.com/firstaidsafety.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Cintas from November 27-29, 2012 among 2,249 adults ages 18 and older, of whom, 1,374 are employed and 1,060 have ever gone to work sick. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact jmessenger@mulberrymc.com.

About Cintas Corporation:
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North America. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and document management services for more than 900,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.