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March 2018

3 Hygiene-related courses your staff should attend

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Workplace Hygiene

Here at Initial we are not only passionate about good hygiene practices, we are also really passionate about sharing the expertise we have in the field of promoting hygiene practices. Our experts out in the field often get approached, and asked whether they can provide training on workplace hygiene for staff, because it appears that there is a real lack of training available in the field of hygiene practices.

Of course, if you type “workplace hygiene training” or even “occupational hygiene training” into Google, one of the first hits you will get is the  South African Institute of Occupational Hygiene (SAIOH) which lists providers who offer training and certification in the arena of occupational hygiene,  including the  North-West University,South Africa which offers an MSc in Occupational Hygiene.

The objective of this qualification is the training of postgrad students as occupational hygienists at a highly qualified level as researchers in the health sciences. Alternately, one could also do a PhD in Occupational Hygiene;  the aim of which is to enable a masters level student in the field of Occupational Hygiene to submit a doctoral thesis proving that they scientifically contributed to development of new knowledge and skills.  A bit high level for the average office employee, I hear you thinking…..

The University of Pretoria offers a Programme in Occupational Hygiene which provides students with the skills to anticipate, recognise and control environmental factors and stressors that may cause adverse health effects or disease to workers.  Candidates are taught how to conduct occupational health risk assessments, how to design occupational hygiene programmes and what information needs to be included in  induction programmes. This seems a bit more like it, but then again, how many of your average offices just happen to have an Occupational Hygienist employed who could deliver induction training to staff?

Occupational Hygiene also entails far more than just the prevention of cross contamination. It includes all health hazards at the workplace that could affect health of employees,  including things such as chemical hazards, physical hazards (cold, heat etc), ergonomic hazards (office chairs and desks and the way we sit and work) or even psychosocial hazards (the effect of the environment on employees mental and emotional well-being).

So I asked our experts in the field what they think the 3 most important training courses are for office and factory workers. Here are the three most common training courses that they get asked to deliver by our customers, for their staff.

1. Basic Hand Hygiene Training

This is probably the most important hygiene message of all, simply because so many people don’t  wash their hands at all,  or don’t  do it correctly.  You can read more about how to wash your hands properly in our blog post "How to wash your hands: learn from the experts".

Initial offers basic hand washing training to all customers, but find that it is most often our “high dependency” customers in the food and packaging industries that take us up on our offer of training as staff hygiene training is an annual audit requirement in this sector.

2. Feminine Hygiene Training

In addition to basic hand washing, Initial also offers workplace hygiene training specifically tailored to all female teams, which focuses on Feminine Hygiene. Our teams cover the correct use of the Feminine Hygiene Units (download our FHU usage poster here), correct use of toilet seat spray, general housekeeping in the bathrooms in terms of users taking care and cleaning up after themselves. One of the issues we also cover in this training is that ladies should really be washing their hands before they visit the toilet, especially if they will be handling sanitary pads or tampons, as well as afterwards. Our teams find that this is a subject that is generally met with looks of horror as the penny drops in terms of cross-contamination.

3. Workplace Hygiene Training

In this training Initial experts cover the hygienic use of bathrooms and facilities, as well as how to keep your workstation germ free (check out our blog post on 5 ways to keep your laptop clean for some more info on this topic). Training is illustrated using the  Journey of the germ video, and also included is usually a short section on  "how clean is your cell phone" as phones are often one of the dirtiest items we own. Read more about unexpectedly dirty personal items in our blog 7 Bacteria Hotspots we bet you didn't know about.

So here you have it; the three courses most requested of our Initial experts for our customers’ staff, and the three topics that we here at Initial think every workplace should be aware of.  

Good hygiene is everyone’s responsibility and equipping your staff with the knowledge of how they can prevent cross contamination in the workplace is an excellent start to improving productivity and morale.If you would like an Initial expert to offer training in your workplace, contact us on 0800 77 77 88 or visit our website.

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Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie is the Category Manager at Rentokil Initial, and has worked in the hygiene and pest control industry for 12 years. Although after 12 years cockroaches still have the power to terrify her, she has learnt countless ways to defeat germs both in the workplace and at home. She is a passionate advocate for Global Handwash Day and the health benefits that can be derived from regular handwashing and hygiene practices. When not contributing to the Initial blog, Nathalie is writing press releases for sister businesses, Rentokil and Ambius. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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