Everyone dreads hearing those first sniffles of a cold or flu in the office, because more often than not, it means you’ll soon be suffering too.

Shared surfaces and equipment, enclosed workspaces, and skin-to-skin contact though handshakes make it worryingly easy for infections to spread, but it doesn’t have to be that way as good practice with infection control in the workplace can prevent a widespread breakout of illness and help to preserve staff health and safety, productivity and general morale.


There are laws in place that hold employers responsible for infection control in the workplace; the main piece of legislation regarding this is the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002, also known as COSHH. Employers are required to take action to control substances in the workplace that could potentially affect the health or wellbeing of staff, and while the action is very much dictated by the nature of the work environment and the work undertaken, even the smallest office requires procedures to be put into place to ensure that the staff remain happy and healthy.

The importance of handwashing

Infection control in the office is of course far more straightforward than in a hospital or care home for example, but no less important. We have recently covered the importance of thorough handwashing on the Bunzl CHS blog, to celebrate the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands global hand hygiene campaign, as according to WHO handwashing is the single most important step that we can take to prevent bacteria and viruses from spreading.

After all, through the course of a normal day there are countless times that we may come into contact with infections by touching seemingly harmless surfaces. We wouldn’t even think about going back to our desks without washing our hands after using the toilet (we hope), but a study by the University of Arizona proved that door handles, microwave buttons, and even the kettle switch are also unsuspecting germy hotspots that we seldom think about.

Having a thorough and regular cleaning schedule is an important step in keeping germs at bay, but it’s crucial to encourage hand hygiene habits that prevent the spread of infection too. The Healthy Workplace Project, pioneered by Kimberly-Clark Professional, encourages employers to create an environment where germs cannot thrive, with the help of products like their award-winning desk and meeting room caddies that are stocked with Kleenex hand sanitiser, sanitising wipes and tissues. You can find out more about The Healthy Workplace Project in the video below.

Take our quiz for more facts about infection control in the workplace

We’ve created an infection control quiz to test your existing knowledge about infection in the workplace, and help you to learn more! Take the quiz now and let us know your results in the comments below, as well as which fact surprised you the most.

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