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Recommendations for good hygiene in manufacturing

Every day workers are potentially exposed to contaminants and conditions that can be harmful to their skin, for example detergents, liquids, chemicals, mechanical oils, greases, resins, paints, sealants and even hot and cold conditions. Occupational skin disorders, including work-related eczema, which commonly go unreported, account for 11.2% of all occupational diseases.

Hygiene, and hand hygiene in particular, is vital in the manufacturing sector to ensure public health is protected as well as ensuring product quality. As well as occupational skin disorders, poor hygiene can cause higher levels of absenteeism and shift disruption, increased presenteeism with sick employees attending work and spreading illnesses and damage to reputation and at worst a risk of legal action.

With approximately 80% of common infections being transmitted by touch, it is essential for manufacturing businesses to have good hand hygiene practices.


The standards of washrooms within manufacturing sites often varies between the office and manufacturing facilities. The office washroom needs to promote the factory image, conveying a sense of pride in the company's heritage and history. The washrooms in the manufacturing facility should be clean and provide the right provisions for employees using them in this area. With 1 in 6 people admitting that they don't wash their hands every time they use the toilet, the washrooms across the facility need to be clean and inviting for visitors and staff.

  • Implement a rigorous cleaning schedule based on peak timings and traffic to ensure washrooms are kept clean
  • Ensure washrooms are well-stocked and that hygiene essentials such as hand soap and paper towels for good hand hygiene are always available
  • Keep it smelling fresh — bad smells can be a deterrent for people using the washroom and is often a reason for not washing their hands properly

Hand wash areas

By protecting, cleaning and restoring the skin on your employee's hands, they can prevent dermatitis and you can ensure that you maintain a healthy workforce. A 3-step process should be followed to ensure the skin is protected against damaging influences and substances.

  • Protect: Prevention is better than cure, add a layer of protection before work every day. Pre-work creams protect the skin against workplace conditions and contaminants, making skin easier to clean
  • Cleanse: Avoid unbearable skin irritations, wash away contaminants whenever you stop work. Hand cleansers can be tailored to suit the needs of each workplace environment
  • Restore: Replenish and restore every time you wash your hands to reduce the risk of developing painful dry skin. Conditioning cream maintains healthy skin and helps to avoid dryness

Reception / entrance

When customers or suppliers arrive at a facility, the reception is often their first point of contact and an important reflection of your company. Ensure they are welcomed into a clean and hygienic environment which will reflect well on the hygiene standards of your factory facility. High-touch surfaces such as reception counters and door handles harbour bacteria which can cause skin infections, food poisoning and respiratory diseases.

  • Employees and visitors can bring in contamination on their shoes, having floor mats will help reduce this and absorb dirt and water so these do not get trodden through the facility
  • Make hand sanitisers available in reception areas to help elevate hygiene standards
  • Display certificates of hygiene and pest control audits for customers and suppliers' peace of mind

Breakout / canteen areas

Communal areas where employees gather are great spaces to build hygiene awareness and to promote a cleaner, safer workplace.

  • Highlight the consequences of poor hygiene practices and the potential cost impact to the business on posters in breakout areas
  • Scenting products can help control and minimise smell that may derive from malodour producing bacteria in breakout areas. Air disinfection units can also help reduce airborne micro-organisms
  • Provide hand sanitiser dispensers to support increasing hand hygiene standards

Production line

Germs can remain on surfaces such as production lines for up to 48 hours and can increase the risk of cross-contamination from surface to hands.

Take care to reduce the risk of cross contamination by having a thorough cleaning regime as well as providing hand wash stations where necessary.

  • A no food or drink policy should be introduced and implemented in production, storage and packaging areas
  • Pay particular attention to employees' personal hygiene and that of the premises and equipment
  • Waste management plans should ensure regular disposal to minimise the risk of pests

Visitor meeting rooms / office areas

A recent study by Initial found that 49% of office workers sometimes or always eat at their desks. The potential for cross-contamination is high as germs from the washroom are spread by contaminated hands and transferred to desks, office equipment and food.

  • Ensure desks and computer work stations are cleaned regularly. Shared desks are often neglected and can have a build-up of germs and contamination
  • Clean and regularly disinfect all surfaces to reduce the risk of cross-contamination via contact with food
  • Install hand sanitisers in locations of high footfall and common use
  • Improve ventilation and air conditioning, especially if offices and meeting rooms are located near to production lines releasing gas or odours