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Targeted Hygiene: Helping break the chain of infection in public facilities

November 4, 2021

By: Dr John Hines, Global Director of RD&E at SC Johnson Professional

Image credit: SC Johnson Professional

The events of the last two years has brought infection transmission, control and prevention to the forefront of our collective consciousness, not just in healthcare but in all contexts – from schools and universities, to offices, shops and transport hubs. As a result of widespread government guidance campaigns, most of us are aware that social distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene are the essential recommended behaviours to help keep ourselves and others around us safe.

With many organisations now trying to manage people safely in their facility – whether working, visiting or learning, there is an increasing requirement for people responsible for those facilities to take an even more proactive role, helping and encouraging people to adopt safe behaviours in workplaces and public facilities, as part of the measures they take to make them as safe as practically possible.

Why hand hygiene is the first line of defence

One of the primary modes of infection transmission is via the hands[1]. Infected individuals spread pathogens from their hands to other people, either directly or via touching shared surfaces. Once contaminated, other people that contact these surfaces with their hands can then become infected themselves by touching their mouth, eyes or nose.

There is a misconception however that frequent cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces is the solution to helping break the chain of infection. Whilst regular disinfection of frequently touched surfaces does play a role in managing risk, a commonly touched surface can become re-contaminated straight after cleaning if the next person that touches it is carrying infectious pathogens.

To prevent this, we need to combine disinfecting hand touch surfaces with effective hand hygiene at the high-risk moments when hands can become contaminated or cause contamination.

Targeting high risk moments

Targeted Hygiene is about helping to change the behaviour of people who come in to contact with each other and commonly touched surfaces at the moments of highest risk of transmission.

By helping people to change their behaviour and complete hand and surface hygiene actions at these moments, facility managers can help break the chain of infection.

SC Johnson Professional have collaborated with leading hygiene expert, Professor Sally Bloomfield, to create guidance called ‘8 Moments for Targeted Hygiene’ for any workplace or public facility.

The guidance identifies the following 8 key moments when the risk of infection transmission via the hands and surfaces is highest:

  • Touching common surfaces
  • After coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose
  • Returning to and leaving your workspace
  • Getting food prepared
  • Eating food
  • Toilet use
  • Entering and exiting the building
  • Disposing of waste

By enabling and encouraging good hand and surface hygiene practices at each of these moments, facility managers can help break the chain of infection in ‘away from home’ environments.

Case Study: How SC Johnson Professional have helped Liverpool Football Club at Anfield stadium

With fans and visitors now back at Anfield stadium, hand hygiene provision is crucial to helping prevent the spread of infections. SC Johnson Professional used the unique Targeted Hygiene approach to install leading hand hygiene solutions throughout Anfield stadium, at locations where one or more of the 8 moments of highest risk of infection transmission could occur.

SC Johnson Professional’s essential hygiene products, including hand sanitiser and washroom soaps, have been located at key places throughout the stadium and the club’s training centre. Sanitiser has been installed in fanzones, turnstiles, concourses, pitchside areas, offices and retail units, helping promote good hand hygiene at crucial moments such as eating food and touching common surfaces. Washrooms have been fully equipped with wall-mounted sanitisers and high quality foam soap, and hand hygiene and skin protection products developed for food preparation environments have been installed in kitchens, helping catering staff keep their hands clean and skin healthy.

The installation of this infrastructure along with high impact signs throughout the stadium helps raise awareness of the importance of hand hygiene to fans, staff and visitors. Through Targeted Hygiene, helping to break the chain of infection can be achieved by enabling the right products to be used at the point of need, combined with frequent hygienic cleaning of high-risk surfaces. When supported by facility managers, the right behaviours can be encouraged for the safety of all facility users.

For more information on Targeted Hygiene Guidance, head here: https://www.scjp.com/en-gb/8-moments-targeted-hygiene.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/health-strategies/flu-pneumonia/interventions/environmental-support.html https://www.ifh-homehygiene.org/books/simple-guide-healthy-living-germy-world/module-8-developing-right-sort-hygiene/some-examples

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