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Infection Control

Need help? Need help? How can infections be controlled and why is it vital? In the workplace environment where there is usually a high level of interaction and proximity, invisible bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens can be passed from one person to another easily. This cross infection can happen by coming into contact with infected surfaces, people, bodily fluids or through the air via coughs and sneezes. To counter this there are various infection control procedures which can be put in place, such as effective hand washing and dealing with biohazardous materials in the correct manner. Here you’ll find a range of infection control products designed to help.

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Buying Guide: Infection Prevention and Control

Viruses such as Coronavirus, bacteria and other contaminants can be transmitted via contact with blood, vomit, urine, or faeces from an infected person, therefore it's important to have safe methods of clean up in many different environments, not just workplaces such as hospitals and care homes, but anywhere with the potential for a large number of people to congregate.

Infection Risk Assessment

Undertaking an infection control risk assessment is an important measure which will help formulate an infection control policy and ongoing procedures to monitor and prevent infections, and doing this can also help a company meet specific legislative requirements. The most effective ways of keeping infections at bay will be different for various types of work environment, but the overall goal will be the same whether formulating an infection control policy for a healthcare or office environment.

A typical infection risk assessment might include the following actions:
  • Identify and document workplace hazards relating to transmission of microorganisms, including those already existing in the workplace environment and those which could come from outside, rating each of these for severity

  • Analysing who is at risk, which should include anyone entering the site, and also the relevant factors that make certain people more vulnerable such as age and medical condition

  • Decide on and document appropriate policies and contingencies which counteract the identified hazards and prevent any cross infection as far as is possible

  • Communicate these policies to all staff members and provide training, making sure all staff are aware of good practices and responsibilities

  • Review all identified risks, policies and training on a regular basis

Good Workplace Occupational Hygiene Practices

The following are common considerations for averting infections in your workplace and good practices in any environment. They are items you might want to consider when doing a risk assessment and coming up with infection control guidelines.

Hand Washing

The most common way of transferring bacteria and diseases is through hand contact. Studies show many workers do not know the correct frequency, duration and method of hand washing.

Hands should be washed as frequently as possible but always before and after:
  • using the bathroom

  • touching objects, people or animals

  • preparing food

  • administering first aid

  • cleaning activities

The following good practice washing procedure should be carried out for at least 20 seconds:
1. Wet hands
2. Apply soap
3. Rub soap into a lather
4. Rub between fingers
5. Rub palm to palm
6. Work around finger nails
7. Rub around thumbs
8. Scrub your palms
9. Rub your wrists
10. Rinse
11. Dry thoroughly

Personal Hygiene

Cover the nose and mouth with tissues when coughing or sneezing, wash hands afterwards and dispose of tissues hygienically. Any open wounds should be covered with waterproof plasters or dressings. Avoid touching the eyes, mouth and nose and do not share personal items such as clothing and towels.

Decontaminating Areas

Keeping areas and surfaces clean is important in stopping pathogens from spreading. Wash walls, floors and surface tops regularly and make sure you use disinfectants and sanitisers which are effective against potential microorganisms. Any cleaning supplies like cloths and mops should be washed thoroughly after use, and it’s also important they are dried completely.

Dealing with Sharp Objects

When cleaning up sharp objects such as glass and syringes it’s imperative to take precautions to avoid injuries which will allow pathogens to enter the body. Wear puncture resistant gloves. Keep all sharp objects in appropriate sharp proof containers which are labelled appropriately.

Biohazard Risks

If staff at your facility are consistently forced to handle biohazardous materials, you’ll need to ensure you have measures in place and biohazard cleaning equipment to dispose of these dangerous items in a safe way. Seton can supply a number of products that allow you to safely remove hazardous materials and substances from your facility and dispose of them in a way that avoids putting staff or patients in danger.

Hygiene Related PPE

Make sure the correct protective clothing for the job is worn. For stopping the spread of bugs this could be gloves, aprons, masks and overshoes, hands should always be washed before putting on and after removing gloves. Wearing gloves and other PPE can be an effective precaution against contact pathogens such as MRSA by blocking its path to the skin. Potentially infected PPE should be removed carefully and hygienically disposed of.

Hygiene Related Signs

Provide a timely reminder to staff and visitors to keep up good hygiene practices. You might want to consider signs at entrances and exits to prompt visitors to use provided hand sanitiser or hand wash basin and wear appropriate PPE such as aprons.