Hand hygiene for critical environments

Hand hygiene for critical environments

12 Jul 2021

Connect 2 Cleanrooms

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This informal CPD article Hand hygiene for critical environments was provided by Connect 2 Cleanrooms, an integrated cleanroom solutions provider. Did you know that 80% of all infectious diseases are transmitted by touch? Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers in London estimated that if everyone washed their hands routinely, a million deaths a year could be prevented. Although gloves can be used as an effective barrier, handwashing is still important when working in controlled environments such as cleanrooms. A glove with a 1mm puncture can let in a much as 7,000 bacteria from an unwashed hand. 

Effective techniques for cleaning hands

The World Health Organisation maintains that handwashing is the most effective method for cleaning hands to reduce the spread of infection. Especially when hands are visibly soiled.

Hands should be washed using soap and water for 20-30 seconds. An effective method involves rubbing hand palm to palm, palm over dorsum, with fingers interlaced, with fingers interlocked, rotating rubbing of thumbs, and then rubbing of nail beds to palms. This cleaning hands technique is also advised for hand rubs, as it gives a thorough coverage, even to parts that are often missed.

What is the difference between washing hands or sanitising them?

Effective handwashing removes contamination from hands. Even if hands appear visibly clean, there can be sub-microscopic particles on the skin, just waiting to be transferred through touch. Whereas sanitising hands provides a level of kill for any micro-organisms (viable contamination) but it doesn’t necessarily remove any particulate. So, sanitising disinfects rather than cleans—which is an important distinction to be aware of.

Working in a cleanroom

Washing hands is especially important when working in a cleanroom, as cleaning hands will reduce the chance of contaminants being introduced into the clean environment. Wearing gloves in cleanroom protects the wearer from coming into contact with any contamination, but in cleanroom environments, it’s important to protect the environment from the wearer. It’s good practice in a cleanroom—especially environments where bioburden is of concern—to also sanitise gloves at regular intervals to avoid the spread of viable contamination.

We hope this article on Hand hygiene for critical environments was helpful. For more information from Connect 2 Cleanrooms, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

Connect 2 Cleanrooms

Connect 2 Cleanrooms

For more information from Connect 2 Cleanrooms, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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