Digging up the Dirt on Clean Restaurants

Clean Restaurants Hidden Places

Your restaurant serves some great food, it has the perfect location in the city, the aroma of fresh bakes from your deli attracts customers all day long. Alsco would like to congratulate you on your well deserved success and wish you all the very best for the future.

Amidst this triumph we do hope you have not forgotten something basic and important. Well, we are talking about your friends Mr. Dirt and Ms. Germs. You may have the best restaurant in the world, but your friendly dirt and germs are always lurking around the corner attempting to dethrone you.
We are not trying to suggest that you do not clean your restaurant or kitchen. But are you sure it is being cleaned well enough?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than half of all foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States are associated with restaurants, delis, banquet facilities, schools and other institutions.

Cleaning a restaurant often becomes a routine. This may result in some places getting overlooked. Often these are the dirtiest places in the restaurant and the last places to be thought about.

Here are the Top 5 Such Places:

The Telephone

All restaurants have phones in various locations. These could be the front desk, the bar or in the kitchen.

  • Are these being cleaned regularly?
  • And more importantly, are they being cleaned well enough?

Phones are constantly being touched by different people. It is rare and almost unheard of that a person washes their hands before touching the phone. And people will almost always go back to their work, without washing their hands, after using the phone. So, your friendly phone has just become a transmitter of your friend Ms Germs.

This is particularly dangerous in areas where food is being handled. There it is important that not only are the phones cleaned regularly, but also that they should be cleaned properly as well.

Using Alsco’s soft kitchen wipes to periodically clean is one way to ensure that your phones do not become the ticking time bomb that they could well become. These are laundered to the highest standards required of the Australian food industry. Fold these well and use a fresh part each time.

The Sneeze Guard

Does your restaurant have buffets or salad or ice-cream bars or any other form of open food counters? Chances are you have a sneeze guard to cover it and shield it from contamination. However, the very contamination that you are shielding the food from collects on the sneeze guard itself.

So it is important that the guard is cleaned hourly whether is looks dirty or not. Alsco’s tea towels with some glass cleaning liquid can be used for this purpose.

The Door Handles

Much like the phones, no one washes their hands before of after using the door handle to push open a door. So the doors in your restaurant could be germ havens too causing the spread of infection.

Cleaning these should be a part of the routine and should be done every hour or two and more frequently during busy hours.

The Door Mats

Did you know that 500 people entering your restaurant over 40 days bring in, on an average, 24 pound (11 kilograms) of dirt? As an owner of an eatery this would be particularly worrisome. Chances are you have mats to reduce the entry of dust and grime.

  • But are they doing their job?
  • How effective are they?

Rental lift-and-lay mats such as that from Alsco are proven to be better than both supermarket or hardware store mats to get more out the mats. Read here to know why.

The Dispensers in Your Washrooms

These are regularly touched by unwashed hands and are a hotbed of germs and disease which could spread to other parts of your washroom and then to the restaurant in no time.

Installing automatic no-touch dispensers is a healthier alternative. Advanced technology ensures these dispensers activate when you need them to without having to touch them thus avoiding cross-contamination. As an added advantage, they dispense only the required amount of soap making them more economical too.

We hope these few unrecognised places in your eatery will get the attention they deserve to for them to be as clean as the rest of your restaurant.

For any further assistance on healthier, safer and greener solutions, all you have to do is call. Alsco’s friendly sales representatives will be happy to work with you to offer you tailored solutions for your needs and a free quote as well.

Remember, Alsco is just a phone call away!

5 Reasons Why You Need Hand Sanitisers In The Workplace

Hand Hygiene Sanitisers

Hand hygiene is essential for good health, yet many people do not give it much thought – even forgetting to do it at times, especially when at work. Maybe it is the lack of amenities that makes one forget… or perhaps just the general busyness of the place… or maybe because there is no Mum to scold you into remembering.

Regardless of the reason why you forget, the truth remains: everybody at work needs to wash their hands. Hand washing can be done either by the good old soap and water route, or through the use of the more convenient hand sanitiser gels. Every workplace should have one, if not both, of these options and here are five reasons why:

1 – It prevents the spread of diseases

Think of all the things you touch with your hands throughout the day – money, door jambs, handrails, counters, and the list goes on and on. All these objects that your hands come into contact with are breeding grounds of countless bacteria (including e. Coli and salmonella, just to name a few) that can make you and your co-workers very ill. Hand washing is an effective way to prevent transmitting germs from one person or object to another person or object, significantly lowering the risk of spreading diseases.

2 – It keeps your environment clean and safe

You don’t want an office full of sick people sniffling and hacking through the day, struggling to finish their work. Regular hand washing can prevent the spread of common diseases (see reason number 1) such as the flu and the common cold on chilly months, and thwart the development of rarer types of diseases that we shudder to think about. The need for a hand sanitiser at work is especially important if your business is in the food industry where good hygiene amongst the staff and cleanliness of the workplace is paramount.

3 – To reinforce the habit

What you really want to do in your workplace is to establish the habit of hand washing among your staff. But how can they start developing this habit if there aren’t any liquid soaps or hand sanitisers in the washroom? The sight of a full bottle of liquid soap by the sink will remind everyone of what they are supposed to do (and it helps if the soap smells amazing too!).

4 – It boosts productivity

Healthy people make more and that’s a fact. The simple act of habitual hand washing can help keep your team or staff in tip-top shape and performing their best. And with fewer diseases (or none!) going around, you can expect exceptional attendance even during flu season.

5 – It is a great benefit for your workers

A well-equipped washroom is one of the best benefits you can give your hardworking team. It may seem like a small thing, but knowing that they have a place to relieve themselves and clean up afterwards before going back to work will make them cared for and valued. As an added benefit, a washroom that includes all the works – hand soaps or hand sanitisers, paper towels, hand dryers, and seat sanitisers – also looks good to guests and definitely helps present your workplace in a positive light.

Hand Hygiene Solutions from Alsco

Whatever your business may be or what industry you are in, there is a perfect washroom solution for you. Alsco offers different hand sanitisers suited to specific needs. Moreover, they offer other hygiene products which you can review in better detail when you visit their website. Not sure which one is the best for you? You can seek advice from their friendly sales representatives for free when you call 1300 733 177.

Anxiety and Depression – The Top Tell-tale Signs

Alsco Mental Health Depression

Take Time to Consider

With more than three million people in Australia experiencing depression, anxiety or related substance-use disorders every year, chances are you or a workmate are struggling with it.

Everyone has bad days at work and may experience a low mood from time to time, perhaps withdrawing from their usual activities. However if these behaviours persist for more than two weeks, combined with other symptoms that are out of character, it could be depression.

A colleague struggling with depression may complain of lack of sleep, become unproductive and irritable or find it hard to accept constructive criticism.

Signs of Depression

Signs of depression include:

  • finding it difficult to concentrate on tasks
  • turning up to work late
  • feeling tired and fatigued
  • being unusually tearful or emotional
  • getting angry easily with tasks or people
  • finding in difficult to meet reasonable deadlines
  • finding it hard to accept constructive and well-delivered feedback
  • having difficulty managing multiple tasks or demands
  • being vulnerable to stress and anxiety
  • drinking alcohol and using drugs to cope
  • having loss of confidence and negative thought patterns
  • appearing restless, tense and on edge
  • avoiding certain workplace activities such as staff meetings
  • becoming overwhelmed or upset easily
  • finding in hard to make decisions
  • being constantly worried and apprehensive

How Can You Help?

If a colleague has such feelings and they persist for over a two week period, and they interfere with his  ability to manage at home and at work, then he might need help. Having one or other of these features, by themselves, is unlikely to indicate depression, however there could be other causes which may warrant medical assessment.

If you believe someone at work may be suffering from depression or if you are worried about a workmate, please contact your Human Resources team for a confidential discussion.

For More Information

For more information on depression, anxiety and related disorders visit www.beyondblue.org.au or call the information line  1300 22 4636 (local call from a landline).

A Simple Way To Keep the Dreaded Flu at Bay!

Alsco Flu Hand Sanitiser

With winter approaching fast, it is time for the dreaded cold and flu season to become active in full swing. The common cold, including chest cold and head cold, and seasonal flu are caused by viruses. Flu symptoms are similar, but include fever, headache and muscle soreness.

With new strains of the flu virus coming out and circulating each year it is time to build your defences against these bugs and to dodge the bullets before they strike!

A rigorous hand hygiene routine such as with alcohol based hand sanitisers is your best bet against this dreaded disease. Don’t let absenteeism cause havoc with your work schedules. Install the hand sanitiser dispensers from Alsco!

So What Is The Flu?

Influenza is commonly known as the ‘flu’. It is an extremely contagious respiratory tract illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. The flu appears most frequently in winter and early spring.

It has symptoms which are similar to the common cold except that they are more severe and much worse. Along with sneezing, cold, congestion and cough, flu will also have symptoms like fever, body aches, fatigue and weakness.

An important aspect of the flu is the ability of the virus to mutate into new and novel subtypes as the episodes of the Avian Flu and the Swine Flu (H1N1) have clearly shown us.

What Is the Impact of the Flu?

The influenza virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract. The flu can cause complications that lead to increased physician visits, hospitalisation and in the worst case may even lead to death. 

The impact of influenza must be considered in terms of not just the number of deaths caused by it each year, but also the number of days people are absent from workplaces such as yours because of the disease. Influenza also causes pressure on the health care system.

How does the Flu Spread?

The flu virus spreads from person to person through respiratory secretions. Groups of people who spend large amounts of time in close contact with each other are at maximum danger of catching the flu. Such people could be together in a workplace, in a classroom, at a concert or even in hospitals and nursing homes.

Flu is spread when you inhale tiny droplets from the air which contain the flu virus. These droplets would have been sneezed or coughed out by a co-worker who has the flu. Another way is when you touch a surface or a machine which has been contaminated by an infected person. In this case, if you your contaminated hands touch your mouth, nose or eyes, then the virus enters your body infecting you too.

Why should you sanitise?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps in order to avoid getting sick. They recommend the use of soap and clean running water to clean hands properly. Another alternative is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands of germs and flu causing viruses. Hand sanitisers are particularly useful in situations where soap and water may not be available or cannot be accessed easily. Alcohol based hand sanitisers quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands. These include the dreadful influenza viruses.

That is why a frequent and thorough hand hygiene routine is the best way to try and prevent you from catching the flu.

What is the evidence behind this?

Studies have found that sanitisers with an alcohol concentration between 60–95% have the highest efficiency against viruses and other microbes. Further, sanitisers may contain emollients which do not cause skin damage like irritants in soaps and detergents.

When should you sanitise your hands?

For an effective hand hygiene routine, it is essential to constantly keep washing and sanitizing hands.

Everyone must remember to sanitise their hands:

  • Everytime they sneeze, cough or blow your nose.
  • Each time they visit the washroom.
  • Before and after eating food.

Apart from this, there are certain industries where people need to take additional care. Some of these are

  • In Kitchens – Before, during and after preparing food.
  • In Restaurants – Before and during food service.
  • In Nursing Homes – Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • In Nursing Homes – Before and after treating a cut or a wound.
  • At Day Care Centers – After changing diapers or cleaning up a child.
  • At Animal Care Centers, Veterinary Clinics – Everytime you touch an animal, animal feed or animal waste.
  • In the Food Packaging Industry – Before, during and after preparing and packaging food.

The recommend way to sanitise your hands

It is important to follow the prescribed routine for sanitising hands. If this is not followed, all the germs will not be killed.

  • Apply the recommended amount of the sanitiser to the palm of one hand. Read the label to know the recommended amount or else apply about the size of a dime. Be mindful not to use less or you may not eliminate all the bacteria.
  • Rub both your hands together. Ensure that the product covers the skin all over your hands and fingers.
  • Keep rubbing all over till the sanitiser has dried off completely. Resist the temptation to hurry through or to dry off remaining sanitiser using a paper napkin or any other means.

A study (Kampf G 2010) to determine the efficacy of alcohol based hand cleaning products found that these products typically require more than 30 seconds to dry them off completely. Therefore, people were likely to apply only small amounts. Small amounts, however, failed to meet the efficacy requirements. It is important to use sufficient volumes and to not wipe off the sanitiser before it has dried completely.

How can Alsco help?

Alsco has a very powerful sanitiser that sanitises your hands effectively and helps in keeping you disease free. It has a quick drying action so that your hands can be sanitised without the use of a hand dryer or if clean towels are not present. The concentrated sanitiser is economical in use.

All you need to do is to click here and fill up the enquiry form to know more about Alsco’s managed sanitiser rental schemes tailored just for your workplace requirements.

For peace of mind make friends with the beneficial Alsco sanitiser.

Image Courtesy: Tina Franklin

Image licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license


Floor Mats – 3 Reasons to NOT Buy Them!

Did You Know That…

  • 500 people entering a building over 40 days will deposit, on an average, 24 pounds (11 kilograms) of dirt?
  • Without effective entrance matting, as few as 1500 people can remove 42 percent of the finish from a floor? (CleanLink)
  • 67% of commercial property owners report “slips and falls” as the number one category of all legal disputes?
  • In 2012, in US slips and falls were the cause of 28% of the cost of workplace injuries.
  • The total cost of slip and fall accidents in the workplace exceeded $15 billion (Liberty Mutual Institute for Safety, Workplace Safety Index, 2014)
  • The cost of non-fatal injuries caused by slips, trips and falls increased between 2001 and 2010. Of the other top causes of workplace injury measured by the Workplace Safety Index, each category saw costs fall during the same period. (Liberty Mutual Institute for Safety, Workplace Safety Index, 2014)

Chances Are You Are in the Same Boat Too.

As a business owner, do you worry about these? Have your employees slipped and got injured or are you concerned about the amount of dirt entering your building? Worry not!

Floor mats  – the simple, easy and cost effective answer to these reduce problems of yours.

Those humble mats go far beyond merely capturing dirt and liquids which people bring along with them while they enter and walk through your workplace, which of course they do. They are such workhorses that they:

  • Reduce maintenance costs by keeping not just the floors at your entrance lobby but the entire office clean.
  • Trap water and fluids, thus reducing slips and falls which could end up costing you a lot in heavy liability.
  • Specialised anti-fatigue mats provide comfort and relief for tired feet, legs and knees especially for those workers who need to stand for long hours.
  • Custom logos and messaging on your mats help improve the image of your office and reinforce any message that you wish to communicate to your employees or clients entering your office.

We are sure we need not say more to convince you about the benefits of these pieces of rubber which may very often go unnoticed and overlooked.

Why Rent Mats From Alsco?

So before you rush out to purchase mats from your neighbourhood hardware store or from the local supermarket we would like you to pause for a moment and read on.

Have you ever wondered about how to get even more from your mats? Have you thought about renting mats which are cleaned periodically by professionals and returned looking and performing as good as new mats? The rental lift and lay mat program from Alsco does just that and much more.

The difference is incredible!

Here are three reasons to go in for a rental mats service like that of Alsco:

  1. Rented mats save time, money and resources.

    • You no longer need to have someone to purchase mats, manage them daily and to keep dry and clean. Your rental mats service provider does this for you. So it saves time of your employees who are freed up to do other jobs. Renting mats means your valuable resources are not tied up in buying, cleaning or maintaining the mats. Renting mats means your valuable resources are not tied up in buying, cleaning or maintaining the mats.
    • There is no initial capital outlay in the purchase of mats. To purchase mats you need to cough up large amounts of cash at the outset. This expenditure then gets expensed over time.  On the other hand, if you were to rent mats, there is no lump sum monetary outlay. Moreover, the entire cost can be expensed immediately.
    • A mat rental service is a tax deductible expense. This expense is allowed as a deduction from taxable income and thus reduces overall tax liability.
    • Your cleaners have to spend reduced time on cleaning. Since most of the dirt, dust and fluids carried by people is captured by the mats, your buildings and workplaces remain cleaner. This means that your cleaners have to do less work to do – reducing their time, effort and energy and your cleaning costs.
  2. A rental lift and lay mat program means cleaner, more efficient mats.

    • The mats are always working collecting dirt 24 hours a day. They absorb soil to the bottom of the mats and do not leave any dirt on the surface.
    • Dirt is trapped and not walked into other parts of your premises. Alsco rental mats prevent tracking soil throughout your premises whereas store bought mats allow shoes to recollect soil and dirt, tracking it further.
    • Mats in custom shapes and sizes protect floors of your high-traffic areas and saves you the cost of premature replacement. Control and collection of dust also means less wear and tear of your floors.
    • Mats are cleaned professionally as per a pre-determined schedule. When replaced at your workplace, they come back looking and performing like new mats. The professional cleaning reduces wear and tear on the mats improving their performance.
    • Dirt and contaminants are removed from the property regularly when mats are replaced with professionally cleaned mats. Unlike mats cleaned in-house, where the contaminants and dust may not get removed completely from your mats therefore remaining on your premises leading to health issues.
    • A nice professional company image is always presented to your customers. You know that is half the battle won for you. So let these floor mats do their work.
  3. Rented mats assist a safe work environment.

    • Alsco mats are of an industrial quality and are designed to capture dirt, mud and fluids from workplace floors, thus reducing slips and falls.
    • Safety message mat programs provide a rotational safety message each service, keeping staff awareness to the maximum.

Didn’t we tell not to buy mats? Now you know why.  You are better off hiring them from a friendly professional company like Alsco.

How Can You Rent From Alsco?

You have understood the benefits. Now get the results.

To get started give a call. A friendly sales representative from Alsco will meet with you to do a thorough evaluation of the needs of your business and organisation. The Alsco sales representative will develop a plan perfect for your budget. You can begin by using our 2-week free trial offer going on currently and see the effectiveness of our mats for yourself.

Workplace Bathroom Etiquette: How It Keeps Your Workmates Happier and Safer

Washroom Etiquette Alsco

Are you aware of the dos and don’ts associated with workplace bathrooms?

Did you know about the negative signals you send out when you fumble over a restroom faux pas?

Admittedly, it’s not always obvious and is rarely set out in official memos, but there is a workplace bathroom etiquette that is expected to be followed – the etiquette that plays a very important part of creating a greener, safer and healthier working environment.

Good workplace bathroom etiquette is not just about politeness and respect, like saying good morning and keeping a door open to allow someone in or out. This help, of course, but etiquette, in this case, relates to a very specific situation that does not occur anywhere else.

It’s designed to prevent embarrassment and awkwardness, show respect and consideration, but also, crucially, reduce the level of bathroom contamination that may render you and your workmates ill.

What Do the Experts Say?

All the experts agree that proper workplace bathroom etiquette can play a significant role in improving the workplace atmosphere, relationships between workmates and in lowering the risk of infections. After all, the bathroom is one of the most germ-infested places in any building.

According to research carried out by the University of Colorado, in the US in 2011, public bathrooms teem with hundreds of different species of bacteria – 230 different species on bathroom floors alone with 150 species found on other surfaces.

Not only that, but bacteria spread extremely fast in enclosed areas used by multiple people, like a workplace bathroom. Research carried out by Dr. Charles Gerba, microbiology professor at the University of Arizona, looked at the extent to which bacteria can spread.

This research discovered that it took between 2 and 4 hours for the bacteria to spread over 60% of frequently handled surfaces. Think door handles, sink edges and flush handles and such. Moreover, after 8 hours, practically 100% of surfaces were contaminated.

A True Cause for Concern

We know that the vast majority of people who use their bathroom facilities at work do not have their fingers drop off, or noses explode or display any other kind of supernaturally negative health effects.

But people getting ill from using publicly shared facilities is not unheard of. Amongst the most commonly found bacteria and viruses found in bathrooms (even in hospitals and at home) are:

  • Gastrointestinal viruses can cause stomach ailments, and include such nasties as norovirus (Winter Vomiting Bug). These can remain on a solid surface for as long as 7 days.
  • Enteric pathogens, like salmonella, shigella, campylobacter and E. coli, which killed four children and caused a lot of illness at Jack-in-the-Box restaurants in California in 1993.
  • Skin and respiratory organisms, such as staphylococcus aureus (Golden Staph) and Group A Strep – the “flesh-eating” bacteria.
  • Other residual fungi, especially if workplace facilities include showers. These do not cause illness themselves but can aggravate asthma and allergies in workmates.

In 2011, an estimated 16 holidaymakers successfully sued a cruise line company, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, after falling ill while on-board the ship the Boudicca. Passengers had expressed concerns about hygiene procedures, pointing to inadequate cleaning of public areas.

It is believed they contracted the Norovius and developed serious gastric problems as a result. The Boudicca was associated with more than 200 cases of similar illness problems between 2009 and 2013.

That’s surely enough to prove that good hygiene is essential in shared facilities, which in turn only emphasizes the importance of following good workplace bathroom etiquette.

So what exactly should you do?

What steps will send the positive message to workmates and help ensure their working environment is kept hygienically clean too?

The Greenroom 8-Point Bathroom Etiquette Guide:

We have put 8 main points in our guide to good workplace bathroom etiquette, which should see you through safely. These can be divided into two main areas:

  • one that highlights good person-to-person manners designed to show respect to your workmates
  • and the other that highlights good hygiene practices to ensure you and your workmates do not suffer any negative health issues as a result of poor bathroom practices.

1. Do Your Business, Not Any Business

The workplace bathroom exists for specific purposes, neither of which (we’re sure) we need to explain in any great detail. But there are certain things that are not appropriate – the most obvious being conducting business. Let’s face it, no-one is on top of their negotiating game when they are immediately concerned with… erm, evacuations.

So, any attempts to seal a deal are not going to go down well. At best, those involved are going to feel uncomfortable; and worst, the deal will be lost completely. So, inform your employees to leave the business for the boardroom and keep it clear from the bathroom.

2. Always Wash Your Hands

Admittedly, there was once a time when no-one would bat an eyelid if they noticed a person not washing their hands, but those days are long gone. The vast majority of people consider it as essential as closing the cubicle door, and as such has become an essential part of proper workplace bathroom etiquette.

The reason is hardly surprising, with a multitude of surveys underlining the links between poor workplace hygiene and the spread of illnesses and disease amongst workmates. And yet, there are still those workmates that feel they can get away with not cleansing their hands after using the facilities. This is something that many people are concerned about.

Here are some useful posters that you can add in your washrooms to boost workplace wellness and hygiene.

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Hand Washing Posters
Free posters to discretely remind everyone to maintain good hand hygiene at work.
Choose your poster here…
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Toilet Etiquette Posters
Toilet cubicle posters with catchy and witty messages. Download and use for free.
Get them now…
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Toilet Gender Signs
Fun and unconventional gender sign posters to enhance employees’ washroom experience.
Print these free posters…

In fact, according to a 2008 SCA Hygiene Report, which involved over 4,800 participants in 9 countries – France, Sweden, Germany, the UK, Russia, China, Australia, the US and Mexico.

The biggest concern over hygiene was firmly set around toilets and bathroom etiquette. Some 47% of people confirmed they were worried about insufficient hand hygiene in connection with toilet visits.

That was just ahead of concerns over hand hygiene when preparing food or meals (45%), and the improper handling of groceries during food preparation (38%). Concerns over whether the toilet or bathroom is regularly cleaned the 6th biggest concern, with 25% admitting to having them.

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Hand Soap Dispensers
Convenient and regularly replenished soap dispensers. Easy to use. Hygienic.
Learn more…
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Instant Hand Sanitizers
Both manual and automatic dispensers available. Potent disinfectant & moisturiser.
Discover our options…
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Hand Drying
Paper towel dispensers and wall mounted air dryers for any washroom.
Find out more…

3. Clean Up After Yourself

We’d be willing to bet a lifetime supply of Vegemite you hate to visit your own workplace bathroom and come face to face with a mess – so why would you think it’s different for anyone else?

You know what we’re talking about. You enter a cubicle only to be greeted with a toilet seat clearly used for target practice, a bowl that has not been flushed, or floor that has been used as an open landfill site.

It’s only because of the selfishness of the previous occupier that such a state exists, and there is no reason why you should leave such a greeting for the person who follows you!

In another survey carried out by University of Arizona professor Charles Gerba, found that about 20% of toilets in airport public bathrooms had significant colonies of E. coli, while 30% of sinks and other surfaces regularly touched by bathroom visitors, like flush handles and tap handles, had them too.

Why? Because bacteria thrive in moist environments, so an unwiped surface around the sink is ripe for colonization.

Of course, it would only have taken a minute to put the mess right. After finishing, it is important to wipe down the seat with a little toilet paper, flushing it away. If some paper drops on the floor, it should be picked up. It’s a simple as that.

Around the sink bowls, where water might splash around the edges onto the benchtop, it is easy to wipe it down using the paper towels from the dispenser nearby. It’s hardly a major undertaking, but plays a big part in showing respect to other co-workers as well as in maintaining hygiene levels.

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Download Poster
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Download Poster
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Download Poster

4. Always Flush With the Lid Down

It’s not generally pointed out, but flushing with the lid of the toilet bowl up cannot be considered a best bathroom practice.

The reason?

Flushing with the lid up ‘aerosolizes’ bacteria that can spread disease, most notably diarrhoea-causing Clostridium difficile, which can be found abundantly in public, hotel, restaurant and workplace bathrooms.

A study from Leeds General Infirmary, and published in the International Journal of Hospital Infection, revealed that the bacteria is sprayed around 25 centimetres above the toilet bowl with each flush, caught on a plume of rising air.

The research also showed that the presence of the bacteria was 12 times greater when flushing with a raised lid than when the lids are down.

Perhaps most revealing is the fact that the highest numbers of the bacteria was recovered immediately after flushing and, while in significantly reduced levels, was still present in the air after 90 minutes, leading to surface contamination throughout the immediate environment.

Therefore, it is important to sanitise the toilet seat before and after using it and to always flush with a closed lid.

5. Don’t Hang Around

There is an unwritten rule of bathroom etiquette that suggests a person should never hang around waiting for their turn. It might seem strange, but it is loosely associated with the age-old condition, commonly referred to as ‘stage fright’ or ‘shy bladder’, now a recognised medical condition known as paruresis – check out the Paruresis Association of Australia.

Basically, no-one likes to feel rushed, so when it comes to performing either on the throne or at the urinal, knowing someone is waiting and (maybe) watching becomes debilitating. In the end, feeling irritated and frustrated, a co-worker will emerge slightly embarrassed but more than likely particularly angered.

So, it’s best to give them sufficient space by simply going back to the desk or workstation and then return to the bathroom after a few minutes. Alternatively, a person should go to another bathroom on another floor (if possible).

6. No Such Thing as Executive Privilege

Even if you are the owner of the business, or a multi-billionaire, and have a few thousand people working under you, the idea of executive privilege holds no water in workplace bathroom etiquette.

Well, let’s face it, there are few places more supportive of the principles of equality of all than bathrooms where billionaire and janitor share the same, erm… shall we say, ‘human experiences’.

In that light, you have no grounds to expect lower ranked employees to give way to you, nor that you are entitled to skip any aspect of hygienic bathroom etiquette. So, make sure to flush with the lavatory seat down, wash your hands adequately (and dry them!), and don’t seek to do any business other than what the bathroom is there for.

7. Washroom Is Not The Place for Chatting and Texting

We already discussed the fact that some people simply cannot use the toilet properly if there are too many people in the washroom with them. Therefore, any kind of talk that goes beyond a simple nod, greeting and a smile is uncalled for in the workplace washroom. Keep it short.

This goes for talking to others via mobile phones, as well. Texting, talking, or even playing games. All mobile devices should be kept in pockets, bags or even back at the workstations.

Perhaps you already heard that mobile phones are packed with bacteria and that they should be cleaned regularly.

Now imagine all those bacteria stuck on your employees’ hands, combined with the toilet bacteria. That is a lot. It is a health hazard waiting to happen. Not to mention, if a person is playing with their phone, they are more likely to forget to wash their hands.

Remember, there are much more diplomatic ways to get the etiquette message across to your employees than confronting them directly. A good one is to have workplace bathroom etiquette posters clearly displayed inside that your employees cannot fail to note.

8. Courtesy Flushes for a Better Smell

Probably one of the least considered options in respect of workplace bathroom etiquette is what’s known as the ‘courtesy flush’. For those not au fait with the term, it’s when a flush is administered midway through an, erm… term on the throne.

The purpose is to remove bad odour as quickly as possible by expelling the offending matter from the scene. In reality, there is nothing else that can be done about such things, but letting the smell linger can make a trip to the toilet extremely unpleasant for your co-workers.

Besides this, a workplace washroom can have good odour control and regular cleaning to prevent dirt buildup which makes the odour more intensive.

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Odour Control
Create a pleasant workplace washroom with various scents. Ensure daily freshness.
Ask us how…
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Managed Washroom Service
Maintain your workplace washroom odour-free and spotlessly clean at all times.
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Washroom Sanitizers
Prevent bacteria from spreading and causing bad washroom odour. Sanitise it.
Discover the easiest way…

Admittedly, there is an issue with eco-friendly principles, with such courtesy increasing water use. According to the EPA, as much as 22.7 litres of water is used with every flush, though more modern toilet models use less – just 6.1 gallons. But it is the best of a bad lot.

Etiquette and Hygiene

Having read our 8-point guide above, you can feel confident of doing your bit to making your workplace that bit happier and safer, at least hygienically.

Of course, the Greenroom is dedicated to spreading the ideas and news that can make your workplace cleaner and greener, and through Alsco’s own workplace hygiene branch, Fresh & Clean, our clients can successfully enhance the degree of workplace bathroom hygiene significantly.

Fresh & Clean offers fully managed hygiene and washroom services rental programs throughout Australia. This can be custom-designed to suit a specific workplace based on a number of criteria, like its operations and staff numbers.

Services and products provided include feminine hygiene, odour control, soap dispensers, hand-drying systems and cleaning.

Create a positive environment and establish good washroom etiquette. Contact Fresh & Clean, and discover the products and services that can help your workplace bathroom become a haven from harmful bacteria and associated illnesses, feel free to check out the Fresh & Clean website.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Images by Sarah Laval

Quick Guide to First Aid Compliance for Australian Workplaces

Safe Work Australia estimates that work-related injury and disease cost Australia roughly 5% of its GDP (Safe Work Australia, 2012).

It is no wonder then that businesses today have a great sense of commitment for their employees, customers, visitors and partners health and safety.

A business owner is aware that any accident at the workplace, whether small or big, is a direct cost for the business. Illness and absenteeism can impact businesses too.

Most Australian employers know that providing first aid training and equipment for employees can save lives in a number of situations, but do you know what else is required?

This quick guide will help you start your journey on the road to compliance. So, let’s get started …

Compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act) and the Work Health and Safety Regulations is a key requirement for Australian businesses.

Hopefully, the workplaces you are responsible for are compliant with the requirements, your employees are trained to minimise the injuries from accidents and to save lives.

Having trouble understanding your compliance needs? Let Alsco help you to understand what your responsibilities as a business owner are to ensure compliance. Contact our friendly sales representatives for a quote customised to your needs and a free audit.

Your First Aid Responsibility

Under the WHS Act it is the responsibility of the person who is conducting the business to ensure that the workers and other people are not exposed to any health and safety risks which arise due to the business. Business owners have to provide adequate first aid facilities and equipment which can be easily accessed, facilities for them to be administered as well as enough trained people to administer them.

So clearly, as the business owner, you are responsible for providing enough first aid kits with appropriate modules, facilities to administer all kinds of first aid as well as adequate number of trained people to do so.

It is left to you to determine what is an adequate number of first aid kits or first aid providers and the kind of training they need to undergo.

The regulations do not specify what is adequate in terms of first aid equipment and leave that for the businesses to determine. In order to do so, your business needs to do its own risk assessment. Hazards which could result in injury need to be identified and the severity, frequency of the injury or illness associated should be understood. This will help in determining the content of the first aid kits, their numbers and the number of trained first aiders.

As a business owner it is required that you do this survey in consultation with your employees or depending upon the situation, with other businesses that are situated in the same premises.

What Are Your First Aid Requirements?

First aid requirements vary for each workplace. Therefore it is important that you use the right approach to understand risks and determine first aid requirements that are suited for the circumstances for your workplace. The following steps are the basic four steps in any risk management approach:

  1. identifying hazards that could result in work-related injury or illness
  2. assessing the type, severity and likelihood of injuries and illness
  3. providing the appropriate first aid equipment, facilities and training
  4. reviewing your first aid requirements on a regular basis or as circumstances change.

How Can You Identify Hazards and their Possible Impact?

Work environment can have more or less risks of injury and first aid depending upon the nature of work and degree of hazards present at the workplace. The factors which need to be considered while you are determining first aid requirements are:

Nature of Workplace Hazards

Certain workplaces have greater risks of injury or illness due to the nature of work or types of hazards present. Further, certain types of work or hazards would be associated with certain kinds of injuries. A person working with animals would be more likely to have stings, bites or scratches while a worker in a chemical factory is more likely to suffer burns, eye injuries, poisoning or skin irritations.

Size and Location of Workplace and Different Workers

While determining first aid requirements it is important to take into account factors such as the number of workplace sites, the distance between these locations, the ease of access to each of the work locations, number of floor levels at the workplace, workers who are located offsite. You need to do this to ensure that all workers at any given workplace have access to first aid.

The Maximum Number of People At The Premises

It is important to remember that apart from your employees, your premises might also have visitors such as clients, contractors or students. There numbers are especially significant in the case of movie theatres, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, entertainment zones.

What Should Each First Aid Kit Contain?

All your workers must have access to a first aid kit . This kit should contain some basic supplies and medicines for

  • cuts, scratches, bruises and splinters
  • muscular sprains and strains
  • minor burns
  • major bleeding wounds including amputations
  • broken bones
  • eye injuries
  • shock

Apart from the above, the contents of the first aid kit can be determined based on the risk assessment survey done at the workplace. For example, a restaurant would have a larger risk of burns and cuts. Therefore, the first aid kit at a restaurant should carry additional supplies for the above. It should also carry medicines and basic equipment for serious burns.

While there is no prescribed design for a first aid kit, certain amount of care should be taken to ensure that

  • the kit is large enough to properly organise all its contents
  • it always contains an updated list of the contents. The contents should be periodically checked to ensure they are replaced and not out of date.
  • the kit should be made of material that prevents dust, moisture and contamination.

Automatic Defibrillators can be critical to saving lives in case of a cardiac arrest. In case you have a large number of workers or high risk for cardiac arrest due to say electrocution etc., providing AEDs would be recommended.

Eyewash equipment should be provided where there is high risk for eye injuries. These injuries may be because of hazardous substances including chemicals.

Portable shower equipment in workplaces should be provided when there is exposure to dangerous chemicals or danger of serious burns.

Where Should First Aid Kits Be Located?

It is important to be able to quickly access first aid kits location is vital. The kit should be prominently located, easily accessible and retrievable. It is better to locate them closer to the location where injuries are more likely.

Standard first aid signs should also be displayed. These will also help in locating the first aid boxes.

If your workplace has more than 200 workers, then a first aid room should be provided in order to properly administer first aid. However, in case of a high risk unit, a first aid room should be provided in all workplaces having 100 workers. A first aid room should also be provided wherever it is not possible to administer the first aid properly in the absence of such a place.

Why Do You Need Trained First Aiders?

First Aiders are a vital part of the compliance for Australian Workplaces. As an owner of a business you need to ensure that there are a sufficient number of people who trained to provide first aid. The training may be provided by Accredited Training Organisations like Alsco.

All first aiders need to be trained in providing CPR and treat minor illnesses and injuries.

In addition, in high risk areas, sufficient training to apply advanced first aid procedures should be given. And if the workplace is located in a remote or isolated area then the training should should given should adapt to the special needs of such situations.

Training once is not sufficient. First aiders should refresh their CPR training every year and basic first aid training every three years. Alsco Training offers a year-round support service to help your business be compliant with the latest WHS Act.

How Many First Aid Trained Employees Should You Have?

While there is a recommended ratio for the number of first aiders to the number of workers, this ratio can be refined after considering a few factors

  • the maximum number of people which may be at the workplace at any given time especially in places like shopping malls, function centres, schools;
  • the degree of risk of being exposed to hazards at the workplace;
  • the remoteness or isolation of the workplace especially from medical and emergency services;
  • if workers are at the field or alone during some parts of the workday, or when the first aider is not present, then there should be access to emergency services and to information on first aid;
  • any seasonality in work when number of workers and hence number of first aiders will increase, or shifts in work timings so that first aid workers are present at all times;
  • if there is any unique risk such as in diving schools or amusement rides;

How Should You Develop Proper First Aid Procedures?

You should develop proper first aid procedures at your work place to ensure workers have a clear understanding of the first aid available at the workplace. The procedures should document include the following:

  • the location of first aid kits and other first aid facilities, who is responsible for their maintenance and its schedule
  • the details of the first aiders and proper means of communication with them especially for workers in remote locations
  • proper allocation of work areas and shifts to each first aider
  • arrangements for ensuring first aiders receive adequate and proper training at required intervals
  • procedures to report illnesses and injuries that occur at workplace
  • keeping records of medical information of workers and seeking information of new workers

All first aid treatment given should be recorded and reported to management. This is a requirement under Health Records Legislation.

Another responsibility of a person responsible for conducting business is also responsible to ensure that the workplace has an emergency response plan which would include workplace evacuation procedures, notifying the emergency services, medical treatment and assistance and proper communication of emergency response procedures.

Should You Regularly Review Your First Aid Requirements?

Yes. First aid procedures need to be constantly reviewed along with the workers to ensure they are adequate and effective.

  • Do you know if the number of first aid kits are sufficient, they are accessible to the workers, well maintained and easily identified?
  • Do the modules suit the hazards at the workplace?
  • Are the first aiders adequately trained and up to date in their training?
  • Are there a sufficient number of first aiders and can they be easily accessed by the workers at any given time from all location?

These are some of the questions which need to be covered in the review.

The importance of having a comprehensive first aid plan with well defined procedures cannot be overemphasized. The guidelines laid out in this article are essentially a summary of  First Aid In The Workplace . These should help you not only with your WHS compliance but also to reduce the risk of injury and illness at your workplace and the associated costs.

How To Get More Help?

If you are not sure whether your workplace complies with WHS requirements,  remember you can always get free advice from Alsco. If you are unsure of what to do, Alsco can make it simple for you.

Delay no more. Review and enhance your compliance now. Call 1300 077 391 Australia-wide.



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