Alcohol-based hand disinfectants improve business productivity

Aug 23, 2010

The placement of alcohol-based hand disinfectants in businesses can reduce illness and absenteeism amongst the work force. A study published in the open access journal, BMC Infectious Diseases, has found that incidences of absenteeism in public administrations due to the common cold, fever and cough are significantly reduced when alcohol-based hand disinfectants are used by employees.

Nils-Olaf Hübner and a team from Germany analyzed absenteeism and symptom data from 129 participants. He said, "Our study found that hand disinfection reduced the number of episodes of illness for the majority of the investigated symptoms." In the study, the participants were divided into two groups. The control group were told to maintain normal hand washing behaviour, whilst the intervention group were supplied with hand disinfectant and instructed to attempt to use it at least five times during a working day. Disinfectant use was encouraged, especially after activities which were likely to facilitate bacterial or viral transfer, such as toilet use and nose blowing.

Whilst the effect of hand disinfectants in medical facilities and non-clinical settings such as child day -care centres had already been documented, its effectiveness in improving employee health in open community work places had not been assessed. The study also found a reduction in symptoms of illness during times when participants were not absent from work, suggesting that hand use can reduce on-the-job-productivity-losses, increase workplace health levels, and therefore improve overall productivity.

Summing up his findings Hübner suggested that "Hand disinfection can easily be introduced and maintained as part of the daily , acting as an interesting and cost-efficient method of improving workforce health and effectiveness".

Explore further: Research shows that magnetic resonance helps to detect and quantify fat in liver

More information: Effectiveness of alcohol-based hand disinfectants in a public administration: Impact on health and work performance related to acute respiratory symptoms and diarrhoea, Nils-Olaf Hübner, Claudia Hübner, Michael Wodny, Günter Kampf and Axel Kramer, BMC Infectious Diseases (in press), www.biomedcentral.com/bmcinfectdis/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Survey: Hand washing habits lacking

Aug 29, 2006

A survey by the Wayne, N.J., based Lysol Hygiene Council has suggested that 61 percent of U.S. residents lack proper hand washing habits.

Recommended for you

Nanopatch to help WHO battle polio

4 hours ago

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) battle against polio has a new weapon after joining forces with Vaxxas, the biotechnology company responsible for developing revolutionary vaccine delivery method the Nanopatch.

Obama's Ebola response: Is it enough and in time?

8 hours ago

President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could threaten security around the world, and he ordered 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the region in emergency aid muscle ...

First domestic case of chikungunya in Brazil

9 hours ago

Brazil's authorities on Tuesday reported the first domestically contracted cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, prompting the government to announce it was stepping up attempts to control the disease.

Australia promises $6.4 million to fight Ebola

9 hours ago

Australia announced on Wednesday it will immediately provide an additional 7 million Australian dollars ($6.4 million) to help the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

User comments : 0