Are the risks of infection higher in office buildings or in restaurants?

Posted by intexjanitorial on November 2, 2018


risk-of-infection.jpegChances are your first instinct was to say that the risk is higher in a restaurant. That’s because it’s widely believed that the main way of contracting an infection or food poisoning is by eating food that is unfit for human consumption (either due to poor hygiene by employees coming into contact with the food or because of cross-contamination from raw or ready-to-eat food coming into contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or utensils). Surprisingly enough, your risk of getting an infection is just as high in an office building as it is in a restaurant!

Why is that?
In restaurants, a number of factors need to be controlled to avoid contamination: cooking time and temperature, personal hygiene and cross-contamination risks. Cooking time and temperature reduce the number of bacteria in food and completely destroy viruses and parasites. Restaurants also use sanitizers and disinfectants to reduce the number of bacteria and viruses on work surfaces. As a rule, surfaces are cleaned and sanitized after each use.

In office buildings, the factors that need to be controlled are the personal hygiene of occupants and visitors, as well as the implementation of a cleaning program to avoid infection from cross-contamination. But how can the hygiene of occupants and visitors be adequately controlled? And do all office building managers have the necessary resources and budget to adequately clean (let alone disinfect) surfaces that are frequently touched by a large number of people?

In 2008, the government implemented regulations requiring all restaurant managers to become trained on contamination risks and proper cleaning procedures. Employees are also required to notify their supervisor and stay home if they have a fever, a headache or diarrhea. Furthermore, managers are obligated to inform employees of this rule. This is not necessarily the case for office building managers.

Just like their restaurant counterparts, office building managers and maintenance supervisors need to be aware of the risks of infection and contamination. They should also implement prevention programs that include making hand sanitizers and wipes available to staff so that they can disinfect their hands and frequently touched surfaces such as telephones, armrests, computer keyboards, etc.

Having a workplace wellness program is the key to reducing employee absenteeism and maintaining workplace productivity. It is also important to inform occupants of proper hygiene practices and habits, such as washing one’s hands frequently and understanding the impacts of coming into work sick. Why? Because using a hand sanitizer can reduce absenteeism by 20%.