Soap and water the preferred handwashing alternative – HSE

Alcohol rubs have “important limitations” 

“A review of the data on efficacy of handcleaning products in industrial use as alternatives to hand washing” by Helena Senior, Catherine Makison Booth and Alan Beswick Health and Safety Laboratory is available to download from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

The stated aim of the project was to review available data with regard to “the efficacy of currently available alternatives to soap and water for hand washing in the context of removal of contamination typical of that experienced in a range of outdoor activities, workplaces and related environments.”

Particular areas of focus included:-

  • Commercial waste and recycling activity
  • Agriculture including animal visitor attractions
  • Outdoor events
  • Construction sites
  • Other work away from permanent welfare facilities.

Soap and warm water, it seems, are still the most effective way of ensuring effective hand hygiene.

“The use of soap and warm running water for hand washing remains an effective method for reducing the levels of hand borne microbiological contamination.”

Alcohol hand gels and rubs, whilst proving useful in certain circumstances, do not appear to offer the consistency of cleanliness provided by soap and water.

“…there are important limitations to how alcohol rubs and gels should be used, and these may introduce uncertainties regarding their efficacy.”

Mobile sinks enable an effective hand wash – wherever it’s required

The TEAL range of mobile sinks and portable hand wash stations enable an employer to provide an effective hand wash for all members of staff – wherever they are and whatever they’re doing.

All Teal hand wash units are portable, robust, easy to clean and easy to use. The range includes mains, motor vehicle, and generator powered models, as well as several that work with pre-heated water.