Tips to avoid the common workplace cold

Posted on Feb 4 2016 - 4:16pm by John Peters
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Millions of workdays will be lost over the coming weeks to cold and flu viruses, but this could be greatly reduced if all employers took precautions, with a few quick and easy solutions to help prevent viruses.

Cold and flu viruses are still cited as one of the main causes of short-term absence and often spread like wild fire through workplaces in winter as a result of germs passing from hand to hand contact.  This happens when someone has the virus on their hands, usually as a result of sneezing or coughing, and then touches a surface, such as a desk, keyboard, telephone or door handle.  These germs can then be picked up by other people who touch the same surface and this route of infection is the same for common colds, flu and a wide range of other viruses.

In addition, a whole host of research has highlighted the importance of regularly cleaning workstations.  One recent study by the University of Salford revealed that more than 10 million bacteria can commonly lurk on desks, phones, computer mice and keyboards, which is 400 times more than on the average toilet seat.

The growth of hand gels, sanitisers and anti-bacterial wipes mean employers can now take more precautions than ever before to reduce the spread of these viruses and kill the germs lurking around their workstations.  All employers should promote the importance of good hygiene and regular handwashing in bathrooms, but anti-bacterial products add another degree of protection.

Products range from hand gel dispensers strategically placed around premises through to personal hand sanitisers that can be distributed to employees.  In addition, anti-bacterial wipes are particularly useful to sanitise desks and work stations quickly and efficiently in workplaces that promote hot-desking and shared facilities.

Finally it’s also important to use common sense when it comes to colds and flu.  A lot of employees feel compelled to work through these viruses but if there’s a chance that someone could infect the rest of the workforce, then ideally they should stay away or work from home until they recover.

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