Keeping employees healthy and products safe is on the agenda of any professional organization.
Hundreds of people across facilities touch the same surfaces constantly, allowing viruses and bacteria to spread at the speed of light. Since it’s not always possible to wash hands throughout the day, FDA-approved hand sanitizers have become a popular tool to combat germs.
Furthermore, it’s important to understand that not all sanitizers are created equal. Let’s look into what FDA-approved hand sanitizers are and why they could be invaluable within your facility.
What Is a Hand Sanitizer?
A hand sanitizer is a liquid or gel product used to disinfect hands. It’s crucial to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting:
- Cleaning — removing dirt and grime from the surface
- Disinfecting — killing germs on the surface.
It’s possible to clean your hands without disinfecting them and vice versa.
Specifically, soap and water do an excellent job removing viruses and bacteria from your hands, so they don’t need disinfecting.
When a person doesn’t have access to hand-washing tools, a hand sanitizer is the next best thing. It doesn’t clean your hands but disinfects them thoroughly. Sanitization is usually sufficient to prevent an infection.
The Importance of Alcohol
Not all sanitizers are the same. Some contain antimicrobial agents, which aren’t effective against viruses. Others lack sufficient alcohol to kill germs, thus reducing germ count instead of eliminating them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies have shown that sanitizers must contain 60% to 95% alcohol to be effective against germs.
What Makes a Sanitizer FDA Approved?
In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates hand sanitizers. To be approved by the FDA, a sanitizer must be efficient and safe to use. Then, the FDA evaluates the risks and benefits of a product to determine if the active ingredient is generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE). For that, it has to:
- Be subjected to adequate and well-control clinical investigations.
- Investigations must be published in widely-available and accepted scientific literature.
- Based on published investigations, experts should agree that the product is safe and effective for its intended use.
The FDA is consistently updating rules regarding hand sanitizers to make them more safe and efficient. For example, in April 2019, it adjusted the list of active ingredients to be used in such products.
How Can a Hand Sanitizer Help Your Facility Stay Happy and Healthy?
Do you need FDA-approved hand sanitizers in your facility? Let’s go over the reasons why they are important.
1. Keeps Surfaces Clean
Did you know that even though 92% of Americans say that they understand the importance of washing hands after visiting a restroom, only 66% of them actually do? Meanwhile, only 39% wash hands after coughing and sneezing, and just 27% do it after handling money.
In a facility where dozens of people touch the same surfaces, viruses and bacteria can spread quickly. It’s possible to keep the spread at bay by having sanitizers readily available.
2. Minimizes Sick Leave
It only takes one sick person to spread the virus to the entire office, store, or other facilities. According to the latest study, 90% of Americans go to work when they are sick. Yet, viruses and bacteria affect people in different ways. While the person who comes to work sick may have mild symptoms, their coworker may not be as lucky.
3. Enjoy the Bandwagon Effect
People tend to follow the crowd. If at least some workers and customers start using hand sanitizers, others will join in. Eventually, the entire facility will become a cleaner place.
Simply by installing hand sanitizing stations, you are encouraging people to use them. Additionally, readily available sanitizers can serve as reminders about hygiene, especially when people are too busy to wash their hands.
4. Feel Safe
Giving people free access to high-quality sanitizers can have a positive psychological effect. For instance, seeing everyone care about staying clean and healthy can make the work environment more comfortable.
On the flip side, when clients see hand sanitizers readily available in your facility, they get a better impression of your company.
Where Should You Keep Hand Sanitizers in Your Hazardous Area Facility?
To make sure sanitizers have the best effect on your workers and clients, you should put them in several strategic positions:
1. Entrances and Exits
Researchers found that a virus placed on a doorknob spreads to 40% to 60% of workers and visitors of the facility within two to four hours. Unfortunately, other objects placed near entrances, such as light switches, can also have the same effect. Putting hand sanitizers near entrances and exits can minimize such swift spreading.
2. Places Where People Eat
Numerous people touch surfaces in break rooms, cafeterias, and food courts. Then, they proceed to eat and swallow the bacteria and viruses they picked up along the way. For example, the most germ-ridden places in the office are water coolers and coffee machines.
Placing hand sanitizers in palaces where people are likely to touch food can help keep them safe.
3. Meeting Room
Many people visit meeting rooms throughout the day. Also, they tend to exchange handshakes, transferring germs to each other. However, by installing a sanitizing station in the meeting room, you can minimize such transfers and avoid sick leaves.
Whether it’s a desk in an office or a cash register in a department store, germs cover the workstations. Since some viruses can live on surfaces for many days, it’s essential to minimize their presence by using hand sanitizers.
5. High-Traffic Areas
By identifying high-traffic areas in your facility and placing sanitizers there, you can prevent many viruses and bacteria from spreading. Regardless, many people are likely to use a sanitizer in sight just because it’s readily available.
Keep Your Facility Safe with FDA-approved Sanitizers
Hand sanitizers can contribute to the safety and productivity of your facility.
At Intrinsically Safe Store, we pride ourselves in bringing customers top-notch Hazardous Area, Explosion Proof, and Intrinsically Safe products to streamline operations and increase safety. In fact, we sell FDA-approved bulk hand sanitizers in 55 Gallon Line Steel Drums, 275 Gallon Poly Totes, and Tank Trucks.