The week before last week was International Clean Hands Week. I learned this from Georgia-Pacific Professional, which had graciously provided a Hand Washing and Drying handout for the public to print out and post, I guess, wheverever they found people not washing their hands.
I kid, of course. The handout was designed for kids, so it’s probably something for school or family restrooms, but really, it’s a pretty cool job aid. I see this as a valuable resource wherever you see a “lavese las manos” sign. After all, I just can’t help but wonder how many of our food employees wash their hands like the rest of the world:
1) run hands under water
2) wave a few times under the air dryer
3) dry on pants
That is, of course, if they wash their hands at all. Envision this bathroom, men. A wall of toilets on one side, a blank and empty counter directly opposite. The sinks are aaallll the way at the other end of the bathroom. How many men do you think will wash their hands after conducting business? How many once they see the job aid?
The answer probably won’t surprise you. The Chronicle of Higher Education shares a study put forth by North Carolina State University, where they measured the number of people using a bottle of hand sanitizer gel at the entrance to the cafeteria (There appear to have been ethical problems following the students into the bathroom). According to Assistant Professor Benjamin Chapman, a food-safety specialist at the University, 17 percent of students used the gel. 83% of students later polled said that they believed they routinely followed hand-hygiene practices during the time of the study.
“What people do and what they say with regard to hand hygiene are two different things,” Mr. Chapman reported. Which comes as no surprise to me, having several nephews who all have to have their hands inspected after swearing blind that they washed them, with soap.