Hygiene in the Workplace

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All workplace environments must be hygienic and safe for both employees and visitors. This applies to everyone, not just to workplaces where food and personal products are handled.

A sound workplace hygiene policy is the best way to ensure that employees have a clean workplace.

Each workplace requires different hygiene requirements. Certain jobs or industries may also present risks that require additional protection than that discussed below. However, below are some key areas that all workplaces should consider for their workplace hygiene policy.

Why is workplace hygiene important?

Hygiene in the workplace is important because it contributes to a healthy workforce. A healthy workforce is happier and more productive. A healthy workplace also means that workers are less likely to fall ill. This reduces the huge cost of sick leave to small businesses - it is reported to cost SMEs $20,000 a year.

How do you maintain hygiene in the workplace?

  • Implement a hygiene policy

Provide the staff with a written hygiene guideline. Inform them of your intentions and expectations regarding a clean workplace. This will help to convey to the staff that you also take hygiene in the workplace seriously.

  • Provide a clean bathroom

A clean bathroom is essential for a hygienic workplace. Also make sure that the bathroom is well equipped with soap, toilet paper and towels.

  • Provide clean towels, disinfectant and hand towels

Provide items such as these so that your employees have a clean and hygienic workplace. Employees are more likely to use these items if they are readily available.

  • Regular cleaning

Make sure that your workplace is cleaned regularly. This will help prevent the spread of infections, and a cleaned workplace also maintains morale and a sense of professionalism.

What is basic hygiene in a workplace?

Basic hygiene in the workplace can be attributed to four different things: personal hygiene, cleanliness of the work area, clean toilet facilities and a clean kitchen.

Why is personal hygiene in the workplace important?

Personal hygiene refers to the cleanliness, appearance and habits of employees. Personal hygiene of employees can be a sensitive issue for business owners for obvious reasons.

An official policy will help alleviate any inconvenience, as employees will understand what is expected of them.

Criteria may include showering, the use of deodorant or perfume, facial hair care and hair washing. Washing hands and the use of hand disinfectants is also important as protection against the spread of disease.

Why is it important to keep work areas clean?

Workplace hygiene guidelines should also require that each employee cleans and maintains his or her own workplace or work areas.

The hygiene policy could include regular cleaning of surfaces with disinfectants. This would lead to a drastic reduction of infections and diseases. As a rule, the policy also includes keeping the area tidy and free of clutter.

Toilet hygiene in the workplace

Supply the toilets with hand soap, toilet paper and towels or hand drying equipment. Ask your employees to practice personal hygiene after using the facilities.

Some companies hire an external cleaning service to clean the toilets. However, if employees are required to maintain the facilities themselves, the occupational hygiene policy could include details such as the frequency of cleaning and the type of products used to clean the floor, toilet bowls and washbasins.

Why is hygiene in the office kitchen important?

As the kitchen is a communal environment, it is important that good hygiene is maintained. Regular cleaning and maintenance of utensils and equipment is a must in any workplace hygiene policy.

This assigns responsibility for the cleaning task and ensures that it is done. Employees who are dissatisfied with the level of workplace hygiene can complain if they feel that the standards of cleanliness are poor enough to pose a health risk.

For businesses that prepare food or have a canteen kitchen, different rules apply depending on the state and the sector.


How can hygiene in the workplace be improved?


Hygiene in the workplace can be improved in four simple steps.

  • Introduce a hygiene policy. This policy should clearly explain what you expect from staff. It should also set out what the company is prepared to offer the staff.
  • Regular cleaning. Simply put, regular cleaning - of toilets, workplaces and the office - is one of the most effective ways to improve hygiene. If possible, you should hire outside cleaning companies to clean the office after hours.
  • Provide toiletries to employees. Ask your employees to maintain a hygienic workplace by providing them with toiletries. For example, disinfectant bottles, soap, boxes of tissues and clean tissues.
  • Internal communication. Regularly remind employees of the importance of personal hygiene. Let them know how much it means to your company. It is also best practice to set a good example.

Do and Don'ts of personal hygiene in the workplace?

  • Clean up behind you
  • Wipe your workstation regularly
  • Wash your cups and mugs daily
  • Use the disinfectant provided for you
  • Adhere to the hygiene policy of the company
  • Do not sneeze or cough without covering your nose and mouth
  • Do not leave the toilet without washing your hands
  • Do not use a public toilet without wiping it down
  • Do not clean your workstation irregularly
  • Do not clean your face regularly with reused tissues

Can you fire someone for lack of hygiene?


An employee may be dismissed for poor hygiene practices.

However, if an employer wants to avoid unjustified dismissal, he must ensure that the dismissal is not harsh or unreasonable.

For example, the hygiene problem must be a significant disturbance in the workplace. In addition, the employee must be given the opportunity to improve or address the problem.

How to maintain personal hygiene in the workplace?

To maintain personal hygiene in the workplace, you must continue to do the following things:

  • Clean the desk regularly. Prevent the spread of infection and the accumulation of dust by cleaning your desk.
  • Disinfect your hands at least once a day. This is another way to stop infections. Disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses in a way that soap does not.
  • Wash your cups, mugs, plates and cutlery regularly. Play it safe by washing the kitchen utensils you use regularly.
  • Keep a box of tissues on your desk. If you need them to cover a sneeze or clean your face, make sure you always have them close to your arms.

How do you talk to an employee about personal hygiene?

Write, create and implement a hygiene policy. This is the best first step in talking to an employee about personal hygiene. It also gives you a background and context that will help you when a serious conversation is needed.
In general, remind employees about personal hygiene. Even if you want to discuss the subject with an employee, avoid embarrassment by reminding all employees of your expectations. Since hygiene is a sensitive issue, make sure that your communication is delicate.
Talk to them in private. If you want to talk to an employee about a specific topic, pull him aside and talk to him in private.

What is a clean-desk policy?

A clean-desk policy sets out the employer's expectations for an employee's desk to be clean. For example, it can require employees to put all documents in their drawers before they leave. Regular wiping of the desk can also be specified in a clean desk policy.

How do you enforce a clean desk policy?

  • Write a policy. Details that you, the business owner, expect from your employees.
  • Provide copies of the policy to employees. Take the trouble to let employees know what you expect.
  • Remind employees of your expectations. Remind employees of your expectations from time to time.
  • In general, remind employees of the Clean Desks policy and its importance in the workplace.

What are some hygiene rules in the kitchen?

The following rules are some suggestions for office kitchens. Commercial kitchens may follow other rules.

  • Do not leave dirty cups and plates in the sink
  • Clean up any mess you make
  • Do not leave food unattended
  • Place all waste in the containers provided for this purpose
  • Regularly empty the refrigerator of food leftovers
  • If you make a mess, clean it up
  • Label your food
  • Leave the kitchen cleaner than you found it

How do work practices help workers to handle food safely?

  • By promoting hygiene discipline. Let employees know what you expect of them so that they can determine their own behaviour
  • By informing them about good practice. Some employees may want to know how to stay hygienic. A procedure that describes how to handle food safely might be what they need
  • By stopping the spread of infection and disease. A properly implemented procedure should curb the spread of disease. Food that is not handled safely can easily spoil

Why are food safety and hygiene important?

Food safety and hygiene are important because they help to make a workplace healthier, more productive and happier.

A hygienic workplace is a healthier workplace. There are fewer illnesses and diseases spread more slowly.

As a result, a hygienic workplace is also more productive. In a hygienic workplace, employees are less absent due to illness.

The correct approach to food safety is an important part of a hygienic workplace.

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