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Controlling the virus at work

Toby Lanaway of GAMA Healthcare Ltd writes on the role of surface and hand hygiene in keeping communal areas safe.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the challenges of communal spaces in the context of the transmission of infectious diseases. Co-workers often spend long periods of time in close proximity, usually with limited access to hand and surface hygiene materials.

Even before the pandemic, there was convincing evidence that we needed to do more to keep communal spaces free from transmissible infectious diseases. Now there are reports of Covid-19 outbreaks in communal workplaces. This is an overview of the evidence that hand and surface hygiene interventions can help to keep people safe from transmissible infectious diseases.

Toby Lanaway of GAMA Healthcare Ltd

Contaminated hands and surfaces can spread infectious diseases (including the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19) in communal settings. Most of us have experienced this – the person sitting next to you has a cold, and the next thing you know, you’re reaching for the tissues!

Several studies have shown that improving hygiene in shared spaces reduced the risk of spreading transmissible diseases. Some of these studies have used bacteriophage markers. These small micro-organisms are viruses that infect bacteria but are harmless to humans and can be used to model the spread of viruses.

One study showed that a surface and hand hygiene intervention reduced the level of bacteriophage contamination of surfaces and staff hands in a shared office by 85 per cent. A follow-up study used mathematical modelling to explore infection transmission risk. This concluded that surface disinfection also resulted in an infection risk reduction of 15 per cent for rotavirus, 16 per cent for rhinovirus, and 33 per cent for influenza, and that surface and hand hygiene combined resulted in an infection risk reduction of 59 per cent for rotavirus, 61 per cent for rhinovirus, and 88 per cent for influenza.

We know that communal spaces pose significant risk for virus spread, hence the ‘stay at home’ order in the UK and elsewhere in the world to help manage the pandemic. We also know that perceptions of safety are a vital part of reopening. Some Canadian research shows that employers need to take additional steps to ensure that staff feel safe enough to come back into communal offices, and this is also true for reopening hospitality settings.

A key part of providing a safe space is to ensure that hand and surface hygiene products are made available throughout, where they are accessible and can be used conveniently. The use of alcohol gel and disinfectant wipes are the most effective way to achieve this.

GAMA Healthcare, infection prevention specialists and manufacturers of Clinell, the #1 disinfectant wipe in the NHS, have made their products available to businesses and consumers over the last year. We’ve recognised the importance of more infection prevention awareness outside healthcare and we know how important this is to keep customers, employees and families safe.”

Contact Toby to find out how GAMA can help your business stay safe:

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