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59 Important COVID Workplace Hygiene Statistics for 2021

We’ve created a handy list of best-practice advice and tips to ensure a healthier working environment for you and your team. This huge list of workplace hygiene stats will give you all the data you need for a cleaner workplace.

Good workplace hygiene practices shown by 2 workers

This is a complete list of up-to-date workplace hygiene statistics.

Here you’ll find hand-picked stats about:

  • Workstation hygiene
  • Staff personal hygiene
  • Workplace kitchen hygiene
  • Driver and car interior hygiene
  • Workplace ill health
  • Germs found at work

We’ve also created a handy list of best-practice advice and tips to ensure a healthier working environment for you and your team.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the stats!

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Before COVID-19 most employees simply expected to pick up bugs at work

68% of workers fully accepted that they would share the germs and viruses being spread around the office.

This contributed to 38.8 million lost working days in the UK alone, costing the British economy around £16.2 billion a year.

In a post-COVID working environment attitudes to bug-sharing will change! So how do you plan keep everyone feeling safe?

Let’s look at the worst offenders:

Workstation hygiene statistics

Workstations are the dirtiest places in the office. Traditionally seen as a more personal worker domain, they have been allowed to become breeding grounds for bugs and germs.

Just take a look at these creepy facts:

  • 10 MILLION bacteria live on the average desk, making it 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat
  • 7,500 bacteria = 3,000 micro-organisms per square inch – that’s the state of the average office keyboard
  • 60% of office desks checked contain the bacteria Staphylococcus. Related illness range from mild and requiring no treatment to severe and potentially fatal
  • The average computer mouse is coated in 3 times more germs than a toilet handle
  • A US study found that on average phones are the most contaminated item in the office. Dr Charles P Gerba from the University of Arizona, found over 25,000 organisms per surface
  • BUT! Your beloved office mug could be the worst offender of them all. Studies by the University of Arizona found that 90% of office cups harbour germs and bacteria that could make us ill. Even Worse! Up to 20% of the mugs tested had traces of faecal matter (eeurgh!)

Despite these shocking figures, 1 in 10 office workers freely admit to NEVER CLEANING THEIR OFFICE EQUIPMENT!

It’s time to completely reassess how your staff maintain their personal workspace. Your telephone, keyboard and computer mouse are the most common spots for bacteria, yet these are often given the least attention by cleaners.

Workers Personal Hygiene Statistics

COVID-19 has taught us that we are the ones who can carry the biggest threat to our co-workers.

To help you communicate the risks to staff, here are some useful statistics to share with them.

SO:

  • The average person touches surfaces that expose them to 840,000 germs every 30 minutes.
  • 80% of communicable disease is spread by touch
  • Lift and elevator buttons contain around 22% more bacteria than toilet seats
  • Studies have found faecal matter on 10% of credit cards, 14% banknotes and 16% of mobile phones.

Key take-away: Clean hands are key to a healthy workforce!

Hand-cleaning stats:

  • 33% of people don’t use soap when washing their hands (unacceptable in a shared workspace!)
  • Only 20% clean their hands before preparing food
  • 39% clean their hands before eating food
  • Fingertips and under the nails are the dirtiest places (people tend to wash their palms and miss the worst bits!)
  • Damp hands are a thousand times more likely to spread bacteria
  • But only 20% of people actually bother drying their hands

It gets worse!

Very Bad Bathroom Behaviour

Only 61% of office employees wash their hands properly with warm water and soap after a visit to the toilet.

This means that 39% don’t!

Of those surveyed:

  • 18% wash their hands quickly
  • 14% decide when to wash their hands after going to the bathroom
  • 7% admitted to not washing their hands at all

Women are slightly more hygienic than men. 66% said they wash their hands thoroughly compared to 53% of men.

11% of 18-24-year olds confess to not washing their hands after the toilet (way above the 7% average)

Those over 45 are cleanest, with 68% washing their hands (although that still leaves 32% who don’t!)

Despite these worrying figures, there is a lot you can do to encourage better hand-hygiene. Signage is proven to increase hand washing, while having a simple all-in-one hand cleaning system makes it much easier for staff to follow the rules.

Germ spreading statistics in the workplace

Although 80% of common infections such as colds are passed on by touch, the Global Pandemic focussed our minds on airborne contamination.

After all, a good sneeze will propel germs at 130km per hour and spread them up to 10 feet from the point of origin.

Not great!

And remember that air quality in an enclosed space can be up to 500% worse than outdoors. So good ventilation is vital to good health.

Yet remember that human touch is still the No1 germ spreader!

For example:

  • The average person touches their face sixteen times per hour
  • Their hands come in contact with around 10 million bacteria per day
  • Viruses left on surfaces by unclean hands can infect you up to 24 hours later
  • Flushing toilets spread germs 6 feet around the toilet and stay airborne for up to 2 hours (So put the seat down!)
  • Air dryers move air around and increase risks of inhalation or spread
  • Norovirus can live for 350 hours on a surface
  • E coli (found mainly in kitchen areas) can lasts up to 500 days
  • A photocopier may be touched more than 300 times per day
  • Door handles are the most touched spots in the office and the biggest health risk

It’s no wonder that infections spread so fast at work. In fact, it can take just one person with a virus 4 hours to contaminate 50% all equipment and employees in their direct vicinity!

Workplace Kitchen Hygiene Stats

Your shared kitchen is one of the most likely places to pick up an infection.

Some of the worst offenders here include:

Kitchen Taps & Cleaning Equipment

Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that this is where you’ll find an endless supply of clean, fresh running water, most kitchen taps at work have up to 1,330 germs per square inch.

Another big offender is your cleaning equipment.

ResearchGate found that coliform bacteria were present on 20% of coffee cups before and 100% of the coffee cups after wiping with a dish cloth or sponge.

No E. coli was found on cups prior to wiping. However, 20% of coffee cups were positive for E. coli after wiping.

Dirty sinks and old sponges are highly contaminated. They also discourage workers from cleaning up after themselves, resulting in even worse hygiene conditions.

Car hygiene statistics

Car-share nightmare?

Here are some worrying stats when it comes to driving jobs:

  • 700 strains of bacteria live in the average car
  • The average toilet seat contains 50 bacteria per square inch compared to the most contaminated parts of a car interior that numbers between 2,000 and 4,000.
  • Door handles and gear-sticks register high levels of staphylococcus epidermidis – a type of skin bacteria which is harmful to people with compromised immune systems.
  • Prevotella is a type of bacteria which originates from people’s mouths and guts and can cause illness, often found around car interiors.
  • Cup holders are the worst place for bacteria build-up
  • Dashboard buttons, seat belt catches and steering wheels are the next biggest offenders
  • The rear view mirror is another one that might surprise you – clean it regularly!

Despite this, a recent survey of 100 drivers found that 32% only clean out the inside of their vehicle once a year. Whilst another 12 percent said that they never even clean the inside of their car.

Here’s Toyota’s list of the 40 places you should make sure are regularly cleaned.

1 Exterior door handles
2 Frame of door and roof
3 Interior door release
4 Window switches
5 Interior door handle
6 Door pocket
7 Seatbelts
8 Seatbelt clips
9 Seat adjust buttons
10 Steering wheel
11 Horn
12 Control stalks
13 Driver air vents
14 Dashboard
15 Power button
16 Gear shift
17 Multimedia screen
18 Central air vents
19 Heating controls
20 Glovebox
21 Log book
22 Central storage compartment
23 Cupholders
24 Rear-view mirror
25 Interior lights
26 Grab handle
27 Key
28 Head rests
29 Seat pockets
30 Rear central tab
31 Fuel cap
32 Wheel valves
33 Boot lid
34 Parcel shelf
35 Boot floor tab
36 Boot close button
37 Bonnet lid
38 Washer cap
39 Dipstick
40 Oil cap

Summary

A clean working environment is no longer something to treat as an afterthought. Taking steps to prevent illness at work is one thing, but dirty offices are now much more likely to lead to higher absenteeism and greater staff turnover.

With 1 in 10 workers believing their health has been compromised by poor workplace hygiene, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

With COVID-19 still a concern around the world, good workplace hygiene is no longer about preventing the spread of colds. Fail to take correct measures and you could be facing real problems.

Tips for cleaner workspaces include:

  • Ensuring that you’re cleaning with a virucidal cleaner
  • Remember that 57% of co-workers judge their colleagues based on the cleanliness and tidiness of their desk (remind people of this fact!)
  • Provide lockable storage space
  • Ensure a rubbish bin and tissues are available for each desk
  • Create a personal calendar to remind people of weekly cleaning days
  • Provide adequate cleaning products
  • REMEMBER! Reminder signs are successful in encouraging more handwashing
  • Dirty sinks result in less handwashing
  • Damp hands are 1,000x more likely to spread bacteria than dry hands

To find out more about the many steps you can take to keep your workplace clean and functioning in testing times, get in touch with one of our team of experts or check out some of the advanced cleaning systems and solutions we have available today:

One2Clean – Intelligent Hand Care System
Omnicare – Washroom Hand Care System
Guardian – High Performance Surface Treatment With Residual Effects
Click Here To View Our Range Of Disinfectants And Sanitisers

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Sources:
https://www.carrentals.com/blog/driving-with-germs-study/
https://www.staplesadvantage.co.uk/get-inspired/workplace-health-and-hygiene/the-scary-truth-about-office-hygiene/
https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/
https://www.af-net.com/blog/2012/07/17/af-infographic-health-and-hygiene-in-the-workplace/