· News

Employers warned to educate staff on the importance of hand-washing in minimising infection

Almost nine out of 10 people think businesses should do more to educate their employees about hand-washing and other infection-prevention practices.

According to a new report from The Patients Association, more than 50% of people have not been educated by their employer on the importance of hand-washing but 85% think businesses should do more to educate them in order to minimise infection.

Katherine Murphy, director of The Patients Association, said: "Infection prevention is one of the most important health and safety issues and really the cornerstone of life. It must be central to the knowledge and daily routine of every child at school and adult in the workplace.

"There is a lead role for employers to encourage employees to behave safely for themselves and each other. Leaving it to hospitals alone is too late. The swine flu pandemic is the ideal time to get this right, right now."
The report was funded by BMI Healthcare as part of its ongoing commitment to infection prevention.

From November through to September 2010, infection control co-ordinators, nurses and other medical staff at several of BMI Healthcare's 60-plus hospitals across the country will form ‘clean teams' that will provide free hand-washing and hygiene training sessions at local schools and businesses.  
But the news comes only months after an HR magazine roundtable discussion where HR directors bemoaned the ‘ridiculous' policies inflicted upon employees by their employers - such as how to wash their hands.

Angela O'Connor, chief people officer at the National Policing Improvement Agency, said: "We have got to crush the stifling hand of bureaucracy. We have got to push back at regulation now. If HR wants to make a difference it could scrap 90% of the ridiculous policies it has. I got an email yesterday telling me how to wash my hands."