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Reduce Employee Illness and Absenteeism with Hand Sanitizer

A common struggle business managers have to deal with is illness in the workplace and employee absenteeism.  When employees are sick or absent, productivity takes a hit, and that means bad news for the bottom line.

There are many contributing factors when determining the cause of employee absenteeism such as employee attitude, job satisfaction and motivation.  Getting to the root of those issues can be quite complex.

However, when it comes to reducing the risk of actual illness and absenteeism due to illness in the workplace, there is something quite simple to implement at your company that can make a significant difference.

Research Supports the Effectiveness of Hand Sanitizers at Work

According to the results of a prospective, intervention-controlled study reported online in the August 2010 BMC Infectious Diseases, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers in the workplace is a cost-efficient method to reduce illness and absenteeism among employees.

“Our study found that hand disinfection reduced the number of episodes of illness for the majority of the investigated symptoms,” lead author Nils-Olaf Hübner, MD, from the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine in Greifswald, Germany, said in a news release.

For the study, participants were randomly assigned to a group receiving alcohol-based hand sanitizer or to a control group receiving no intervention. The intervention group was supplied with hand sanitizer and instructed to use it 5 times or more during the workday, especially after activities such as toilet use and nose blowing that would likely facilitate bacterial or viral transfer.

What the results showed is that group using hand sanitizer experienced fewer instances of illness, including statistically significant reductions in the common cold, fever and coughing.  This group also missed fewer days of work due to illness.

While implementing a proper hand hygiene program will not fix all the contributing factors of employee absenteeism, making hand sanitizer readily available to employees is certainly a cost-effective step in the right direction to minimize the risk of employee illness.

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