Recently there has been a lot of research on hand hygiene, the results are astounding.
- An English based cleaning company found that less than 10 per cent of men wash their hands, particularly after using a urinal. With the permission of employees, observations in work-place toilets, this found that only 4 per cent of men washed their hands after urinating. This rose to 80 per cent of men washing their hands after sitting down compared to 95 per cent of women washed their hands after using the toilet.
- Further to this a recent hand hygiene conference in London hosted by the Royal Society for Public Health found that in one observational study at a UK motorway services station only 32 per cent of men and 64 per cent of women were seen to wash their hands with soap after using the washroom. A second survey carried out by the Food Standards Agency revealed that 39 per cent of UK caterers would not routinely wash their hands after using the toilet, and only 48 per cent would wash their hands after handling raw meat. On a global level, the statistics were outrageous finding that poor hand hygiene has a major factor in the 0.85 million deaths caused by diarrhoea worldwide every year. According to Dr Curtis: “Hand washing with soap could save 650,000 lives a year globally. It could help prevent SARS, AIDS, cholera, pandemic flu and malnutrition.
- Another survey carried out by an Irish based maintenance services company focused on 100 16-year-old boys and girls which found that one hundred per cent of teenagers asked to take part in a simple hand washing test were found to have failed to wash their hands properly. Even when washing their hands in what they thought to be the correct method a UV light inspection afterwards confirmed the 100 per cent failure rate. As well as failing the hand washing test, almost three-quarters of the students admitted to not washing their hands before eating lunch while two-thirds said they would not wash their hands after PE or sports activities. Over half of the students admitted to not washing their hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose. And 86 per cent failed to wash their hands after handling money. Following the three-day programme, the majority of the students claimed to have changed their hand washing habits with 73 per cent washing their hands more frequently than they had before.