Motivated Staffing

Germs… Tips to Protect Yourself

Did you know…

That bacteria find perfect environments for breeding and multiplying in the air conditioning units, ventilation shafts and heating units found in corporate offices all over the country. This is just one more reason why the average office workstation may harbour bacteria in concentrations several hundred times more than a toilet.

These observations reported by a University of Arizona microbiology professor and export on hygiene. In studies conducted in work and home office environments, the professor has found, among others, that:

The average toilet seat at work has 49 microbes per square inch.

The average office worker’s desk has more than 20,000 microbes per square inch (at least 400 time great than the toilet seat).

On every square inch of surface, the average office phone has 25,127 microbes (over 500 times more than the toilet seat); the average keyboard has 3,295 (67 times more); and the average computer mouse has 1,676 (34 times more).

The five spots with the highest microbial concentrations were: phones, desks, the handles on water fountains, microwave door handles, and computer keyboards. There were also high readings on restroom door handles, fax machines (especially the “enter” and “send” buttons), office copiers (“copy” button), and coffeepot handle.

Bathrooms and toilet seats are regularly scrubbed and sanitized by cleaning crews. In contrast, office workers do not clean their work areas as often as they should.

People often eat at their desks or store food in the drawer. Crumbs may accumulate in out-of-sight places, providing plenty of food to hungry bacteria. Unless the workers clean their desks regularly, these could become havens for bacteria. Unclean work areas can pose hazards to a worker’s health and a liability to the business.

Dirty office spaces could cause the spread of infectious diseases. This leads to employee absenteeism and loss of productivity. If the cold and flu season is worse than usual, the impact on business can be very significant.

Other recommendations from the study:

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are good, but washing with soap and water for 20 seconds is better.

Sanitize your hands before touching your face. On the average, office workers touch their faces every 3 ½ minutes (that’s 18 times per hour) – bringing microbes from dirty keyboards and desks to their mouth and nose.

Take a look at your neighbour’s workspace. Microbes from one cubicle easily contaminate the adjacent cubicle. The hygiene practices of your neighbour will affect you.

Clean your keyboard with sanitizer. Cleaning crews stay away from keyboards and computers to avoid unintentional damage.