Category Archives: Hygiene Focus

Shock, horror – infections at work

Bugs at the Office
Count on it – if it’s going around,
it’s gonna get you

In hospitals they call them HAIs – Hospital Acquired Infections.

Outside medical circles, nobody’s started talking about Work Acquired Infections (WAIs) yet. But they’re gonna.

Controversial topic, HAIs.

A lot of people think they’re proof of incompetence – it’s a disgrace that infections should happen in the first place. Totally unfair and not very realistic.

Because if you’re in hospital for an accident or operation, you’ll most likely have some kind of cut or incision. And right there, is a major risk of infection. It can happen, even with the most stringent hygiene measures.

Not so safe any more

But the world has changed since the last time you looked.

Hospitals have an even bigger threat to face behind HAIs. Because we’re so gung-ho and Harry Casual about antibiotics, there’s a whole load of viruses and bacteria out there that have learned how to resist them.

You get an infection, the Doc can’t shoot you full of penicillin any more because a lot of the time it won’t always work.

Take MRSA, the first line infection most hospitals are so worried about. The name says it all – Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Against that, antibiotics are about as useful as coffee sweeteners – your body just has to tough it out.

More hazards

Now think of that in the wider world.

Antibiotics are starting not to respond  – so if something happens to you, you could be in big trouble.

And things do. Accidents at work happen way more than you think. Check how the Health & Safety people see things happening in a year:

  • 133 workers killed at work (2013/14)
  • 2,535 mesothelioma deaths in 2012 due to past asbestos exposures
  • 78,000 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences)(2012/13)
  • 175,000 over-7-day absence injuries occurred (LFS) (2012/13)
  • 1.1 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness (2011/12)

Those are the big dramas. But what about the little ones?

It’s just a scratch

You drop something, you cut yourself, something digs into you. What’s the bet hygiene levels at work are nothing like in hospitals?

Even an office can be anything but “harmless”.

Just think of it. Maybe thirty or fifty of you, all in the same room. All breathing the same air, all exposed to the same environment.

You don’t even have to have an accident, there’s plenty of germs ready to have a go at you. With so many people concentrated together – more viruses, more bacteria – the threshold is higher. WAIs are almost inevitable.

High germ thresholds for instance, are almost certainly the cause of “sick building syndrome”. Headaches, nausea – you’re not sick of the job, you genuinely have a health issue.

Germs everywhere

But you don’t have to. And as the effect of antibiotics not working becomes more acute, you’re going to see a lot of places taking active steps so you never do.

You’re probably already aware that desks and computer keyboards are breeding places of germs – as many as 20,961 microbes per square inch according to research.

Sure, your workplace gets vacuumed and wiped down every day by good, professional services – but they can’t do everything. What about under things, or nooks and crannies – or even the air itself?

Higher-level hygiene

Know how the smell of fish and chips lingers when everyone has gone? Germs linger the same, able to survive up to a week or more – floating in the air because they’re so incredibly small. An infection waiting to happen.

You guessed it, our hygiene habits need to ramp up a level. Clean isn’t necessarily safe. And once somebody catches a bug, sure as anything, you know it’s going to get everyone.

So the trick is to sterilise the place. Not just the desks and floors – those are done already, and look at the hazards we face. We need to do the air too – after all, it’s 80% of the space – and day to day, it never gets touched.

All automatic

Enter the hygiene robots – machines that take down germs and make the place totally safe from viruses and bacteria. They may be ultra violet generators or oxidising foggers – but they work, and very effectively.

Still feeling queasy at your desk? If it’s not lunch, maybe you should pressure the boss into getting the place sterilised every night. A hydrogen peroxide super-mister eliminates all germs in around twenty minutes.

It won’t stop infection if you get a cut of course. There’s germs on your skin and clothes from outside, so you still have to take all precautions. You’re less likely to develop problems though, because the germ threshold is less – at zero when you walked in this morning.

WAIs are likely to increase – but not on your watch.

Originally posted 2014-10-22 11:51:55.

Time to celebrate – you need never catch an infection again

Happy, happy! You've survived the germs AGAIN!
Happy, happy! You’ve survived the germs AGAIN!

Congratulations. Your body has just survived exposure to 29,743,987,435 germs.

That’s about how many surround you at any one time.

And congratulations. Thirty seconds later, and you’ve just done it again.

Only this time it’s 32,867,201,591 germs. And no, they’re not the same ones.

They just keep coming and coming and your body has to cope with this onslaught every second of every day.

Don’t believe it?

When was the last time you stood waiting in the Underground, and your face got blasted with dust?

And how many dust particles do you reckon that was? 8 million? 80 million?

OK, now your average virus or bacteria is probably around a million times smaller than a single speck of dust.

Smaller than the pollen that gives you hay fever. Smaller than the particles in cigarette smoke. Smaller than droplets of water vapour in a cloud. So really, really tiny, it’s why you can’t see them at all.

But they’re there alright.

You wouldn’t walk into a room full of people with bird flu, would you? But you can’t see the bird flu. So how do you know it’s there?

But it’s not just the bird flu you have to worry about. It’s the 23,849,362,072 other viruses and bacteria floating around. By the way congratulations. You’ve just survived again.

But what if you didn’t?

What if you forgot to wash your hands , just the once? Or breathed something in? Or did something stupid like the philosopher Sir Francis Bacon back in 1626?

Famously in March of that year, he was driving in his carriage when it occurred to him to check out how coldness might affect the decay of meat. He stopped, bought a chicken, had the guts pulled out, and crouched down on the ice to stuff it full of snow, right there and then.

Spot the mistake?

Yeah, he caught a chill so bad that he couldn’t go home. So they took him to his pal’s house, the Earl of Arundel, put him to bed. It didn’t help. The chill became pneumonia and the poor bloke conked on 9th April.

Oh, and by the way, congratulations again.

Maybe now you’ve got some idea of how much hazard we all face, every single day. And it gets worse when we’re all together.

Some of us are healthier than others. And as we know well, very often the sick ones pass on their germs. Because the one particular bug is more concentrated in their system and ready to invade.

So down we come with the bug and we didn’t even do anything!

All unnecessary.

Because, as we have known since the Nineteenth Century – only 200 years after Bacon’s time – ALL germs die if we clobber them with hydrogen peroxide.

And if we get clever with Twenty-First Century technology, we can spray it up in the air in an ultra-fine mist and knock out every single one of them in an average room in just 20 minutes.

No congratulations this time because there aren’t any germs any more. The place is sterile.

Still cause for celebration though.

For the first time in history, you’re safe. You can’t get ill because nothing can touch you.

So why don’t we do this all the time – in schools, restaurants, hotels, offices, everywhere?

No idea, you tell us.

Which makes us just as stupid as Sir Francis. All of us.

Why let disaster happen when you don’t have to?

Better stay off the chicken and bacon – just in case.

But at least you’re safe =- at least for now.

Because there’s one more thing.

You have to keep at it with the hydrogen peroxide because the germs come back.

People bring them in on their clothes, or let them waft in when they enter.

So congratulations again. You just survived another 35,987,061,362 potential infections.

But you could get awfully hammered, celebrating all the time.

Originally posted 2014-09-09 13:19:25.

It’s not antibiotic Dark Ages that are going to kill us, Prime Minister. It’s our sloppy hygiene.

Smog victims
To win against superbugs, we’re going to need a game changer – and we’ve got one!

OK, let’s pretend it’s happened. Antibiotics don’t work anymore and we’re back in David Cameron’s “Dark Ages.”

Oh, except it’s not a pretence. In more and more places, it’s the reality – all you have do is look at the deadly ebola outbreak currently running riot in Liberia.

Out there, it truly is the Dark Ages, 90% of patients who contract ebola do not survive. They DIE.

And how do they catch it? Follow-up investigations into just about every case point to lapses in washing hands, wearing protective clothing, or handling materials contaminated by the patient.

The problem is, ebola is so virulent it’s particularly lethal at exploiting any weakness in hygiene defences. The smallest lapse or chink in our armour and it’s through.

But properly protected, doctors, nurses and all those amazing professionals in Médecins Sans Frontières are reasonably safe from this dread disease.

See, it’s not antibiotics that’s protecting them. It’s good old-fashioned common sense and realistic commitment to hygiene. Which applies as much now as it ever did in the Dark Ages.

Which is precisely what’s wrong with our attitude back here in our nice, comfortable, ebola-free UK.

Apart from the dedicated few who keep banging on about hand hygiene, the rest of us are bumbling around not even bothering, or so lax about using antibacterial hand gel it’s worse than useless.

Yes, we’re too damn lax for our own good – and the antibiotics we’ve been relying on for so long to get us out of trouble can’t crack it anymore.

Well there’s a surprise. Because for all the care most us take, we might just as well be gallivanting through Liberia, shaking everybody by the hand, kissing them and sharing tea with them.

And then we have the gall to turn round and blame the NHS and the whole medical profession for not protecting us!

Listen folks, if we ever deserve to survive, we have to up our game.

And there’s one way staring us in the face that has been around since the same Nineteenth Century Dark Ages that we’re so terrified about.

What? There’s  a defence system that can destroy ALL germs – and WE’RE NOT USING IT! Just how do we ever think we’ll live to see tomorrow?

Come on, now. Get your mind-set beyond just washing and think sterilisation, a process that basically kills ALL microorganisms.

And it’s not rocket science, we already know how to do it. By any one of these methods: heat, ethylene oxide gas, hydrogen peroxide gas, plasma, ozone or radiation.

Dark Ages? We’ve got more defences than Rambo!

Take just one, hydrogen peroxide. Because it’s quick, inexpensive – and with the latest Twenty-First Century spin on how you use it – highly effective.

Hydrogen peroxide works by oxidising action. It destroys bacteria and viruses by smashing their cell systems to nothing. Dead, gone, finished – every pathogen it’s ever been tested on.

And with modern delivery systems, the stuff hyper-warps to 99.9999% effectiveness – or in technical terms, a Sterilisation Assurance Level of Log 6. No just on surfaces either, total room purification.

First it gets ionised and an auto-robot sprays an ultra-fine mist of it into the air.

Because it’s electrostatically charged, it physically latches on to microbes in suspension or on hard surfaces and rips them to shreds by shoving oxygen atoms at them.

Next, because it has colloidal silver added to it, this capability is boosted several times over.

That allows greater economy with lower concentrations and an even finer mist to disperse, electrostatically attracted up through  the air and deep into cracks and crevices.

An airborne defence system more effective than antibiotics.

Yes, more effective. Because if you think about it, for antibiotics to work, you have to get sick first. And who wants to take that chance?

And you can use this stuff everywhere – hospitals, hotels, restaurants, aircraft, coaches, food delivery trucks, supermarkets, schools, kitchens, toilets, and of course, at home.

Amazing right? But don’t get lax now. You still need to wash your hands. It’s a big wide world out there, with billions and billions of germs. Come back inside and you’re covered with them again.

But at least you know the room you’re in is safe.

Feel easier, Prime Minister?

Originally posted 2014-08-26 17:57:01.

Why our old-hat approach to hygiene could make us crash and burn

Airport runway
Now arriving, a more effective way to be safe from germs

Living is a lot like flying.

Everything’s fine as long as it’s in balance.

Looks easy, feels easy – until it goes wrong. And sooner or later, something always does.

Off-course or off-colour – the tiniest thing could bring you down.  And they don’t come any tinier than bacteria and viruses.

So what makes you so sure that washing and scrubbing will keep you safe?

Just like flying, up in the air is where all germs live. And at less than 2 microns across, they’re so light they may never stop floating around – ready to grab hold as you walk through, billions and billions of them.

Which means clean hands are not enough. Not nearly enough. And such old-hat thinking could be the death of us.

Planes use radar to get through storms and other hazards.

But we just walk into room – blind to the norovirus or e.coli hovering in clouds – or the c. difficile and MRSA eddying by the doorway, just waiting to hijack us.

Most of the time, they just swirl off us. Another day in jeopardy, safely overcome.

But often they find a way into our bodies. A gasp of air laughing at a joke. A bite of a cheese-burger. The paper-cut on your finger from your letter of promotion. A common cold or something life-threatening in hospital? Whichever germ gets you first.

And we have no idea they’re there, those germs. Like how about a hotel room with 67.6 colony-forming units of bacteria per square centimetre? And that’s just on the TV remote.

We have no radar and germs are all over us.

Unless we get them first.

Because it IS possible to sterilise every room completely free of germs before we walk in.

No germs, no risk. Safe.

A completely different approach to hygiene altogether. On top of the usual.

It’s done with hydrogen peroxide – misted up super-fine so it permeates everywhere – electrostatically charged so it actively grabs viruses and bacteria and oxidises them to death.

Fact: and you can ask any doctor – no germ comes back from having extra oxygen atoms shoved at it.

So we might be blind to germs, but we can take them out totally in just 45 minutes a room. Utterly gone. No hazards at all.

Pilots still have clear air turbulence and wind shear to face, invisible perils that could kill.

In a sterile room we face nothing, no hazard, no threat of infection – unless before we enter some pathogen has already found a way inside our body’s defence system.

Yes, you should wash your hands.

But against increasing antibiotic resistant mutations, a new approach is vital if we’re all going to survive.

Hydrogen peroxide is your boarding pass.

Have a pleasant flight.

Originally posted 2014-08-26 10:49:55.

OK, so Ebola’s coming – don’t be scared, be prepared

Woman looks at hands
Relax, you’re safe as long as you’re clean

Think of it as a great, big, wake-up call.

There’s this dread disease coming and we’re all going to die.

Poppycock.

First of all, it’s got to get here – and we’re protected by an alert and watchful health emergency service.

That poor lady on the flight from Sierra Leone? Sadly she died, but not from Ebola – the plane was quarantined and everybody on it was checked and registered.

Second, we’re a lot more fortunate than Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone.

No super-challenged medical  teams over-stretched against impossible odds. No under-funded hospitals or emergency clinics. No ambulance shortage or emergency workers scared for their lives.

Most important of all, we lead healthier lives. We eat healthier, so our bodies are stronger. We’re more aware of hygiene and preventing infection in the first place.

It’s still not enough though.

We know about washing hands, but how many of us do it properly? A proper scrub, not just a rinse.

And how about the towel we use – a disposable paper one, or the same old cloth hanging on the bathroom door?

Or how about antibacterial hand gel?

Oh sure, we all know about it and use it whenever we remember.

But did you know it takes a minimum of 30 seconds to work? Or that you’re right back where you started once you touch your face, your hair, or the nearest door handle?

Yes, we’re careful. But we’ve got to be carefuller.

Because it’s not just Ebola, it’s a whole slew of other viruses and bacteria queuing up to have a go at us. Germs that have become resistant to antibiotics. Killers just as deadly.

Of course they can’t touch you if your hygiene is good.

So ask yourself, is it?

And are you really watchful?

Do you wipe dust away with your fingers? Do you tap your teeth with your pen? Do you put your keys in your mouth when you bring the shopping through the front door? Have you looked at the face of your phone after you’ve made a call?

No germ can get you if it can’t make contact – through a wound, through your skin itself, breathed in or swallowed. That’s why the Ebola teams wear full body protection. So the disease can’t touch them.

We’ve got to think the same – keep our bodies protected so germs can’t get us. Like all the things you try to do when you’re away on holiday. Be careful, remember you’re in a strange place, your body does not have built-up local resistance.

Don’t go swimming in dirty water. Don’t eat food that you sense is off or not cooked properly. Careful what you drink, if necessary take the cap off yourself – insisting that it has a cap in the first place.

Keep yourself clean. Avoid contact with the body fluids of others – don’t let yourself be sneezed on, no drinking from the same glass, super caution when you change junior’s nappy. In other words, don’t be careless.

Because it’s not Ebola that’s going to get you. It’s norovirus or e.coli. Really unpleasant – and an unnecessary price to pay for sloppy hygiene.

Just be watchful – and you’ll be fine.

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:42:05.

Hygiene is two thirds of health – so why do we keep dicing with death?

Tightrope
It’s only soap and water, but deadly if we forget it. Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

It’s an old Lebanese proverb, that hygiene is two thirds of health. More accurately, hygiene is the one thing we can all practice that keeps us from death.

The truth of this is everywhere. Look no further than the Great Plague or Black Death – in Fourteenth Century Europe, the greatest health catastrophe ever.

Poor hygiene, certain death

Bubonic plague, yersinia pestis, was thought to be spread by rats and the fleas that infested them. More recent studies suspect humans themselves, through “ectoparasites”, such as body lice and human fleas. Exposure to any of them – together with the low levels of hygiene that prevailed at that time – and you were lucky not to be a goner.

Because rats were common in Fourteenth Century Europe. So were all manner of diseases and illnesses. Poor hygiene guaranteed it. People crammed in cities on top of each other. Few sewers. Pretty well zero sanitation. Human excrement dumped straight into the streets, then into the rivers that provided drinking water.

Not at all a healthy place to be.

Which is how the Black Death killed 50 million people, 60% of Europe’s population. Three to five days to react to a flea bite. Three to five days breaking out in suppurating buboes – and an 80% chance you would die within hours.

Goodbye cruel world. The end of everything through poor hygiene. Halted only by three days of germ-killing, purifying flames in the Great Fire of London, September 1666.

Halted, but without any advance in hygiene. Still the same lack of sewerage, no access to running water, wearing the same clothes for the whole winter, not even a bath once a year. And all the while, everybody’s body waste and faecal matter was discharged into the Thames.

The Great Stink

So that inevitably, nearly two hundred years after the Great Fire, came the Great Stink.

By that time, London had doubled and quadrupled, then quadrupled again. Newly-laid drains took away the never-ending effluent – increasingly from flushing toilets, the new invention of the age. Flush it away, get rid of the smell, out of sight, out of mind.

Except of course, it still wound up in the Thames. And surprise, surprise, Londoners still weren’t very healthy – the river was still the major source of drinking water.

Exactly how it was before the rats arrived, with cholera from drinking contaminated water back in top spot as the Number One killer. 40,000 died from cholera between 1831 and 1866 – most lethal killer since the Black Death itself – with infant mortality hovering at 50% and children under five not much better.

The summer of 1858 made it even worse. With a once-in-a-century drought and corresponding heatwave –temperatures climbed day after day to 48°C, as hot as North Africa. The Thames shrank to a trickle – and as water levels dropped, exposed more and more layers of faecal matter on the riverbed, baking and fermenting in the summer sun.

The smell, accumulated from hundreds of years of raw sewage, was unbearable.

People avoided the river, now a disgusting brown slurry of poo. The posh and aristocracy moved out of town. MPs abandoned the Houses of Parliament, newly rebuilt after a fire in 1834. But not before passing long-overdue laws for a massive new sewer scheme.

Down the drain

It took twenty years, but thanks to the brilliant engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette – the unique and awe-inspiring Victoria, Albert and Lambeth Embankments were the result, with yawning great sewerage tunnels concealed underneath. All supported by 82 miles of main intercepting sewers, 1,100 miles of street sewers, four pumping stations and two treatment works.

Slowly, the Thames revived, to become one of the cleanest cityscapes in Europe.

The water became safer too – with the discovery by physician Sir John Snow that cholera was spread by polluted water, not airborne. Famously, he persuaded the local authority in Soho, St James Vestry, to remove the handle of the public water pump in Broad Street, identified as the source of the most recent cholera outbreak.

Today London’s drinking water still comes mostly from the Thames, but only after screening, clarification, filtration, aeration, removal of pesticides and organic compounds by Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), ozone dosing, disinfection and ammoniation to ensure its purity.

And in case of another hundred-year drought like the one that brought the Great Stink, London’s water is further supplemented by the reverse osmosis treatment of sea water in a massive new processing plant at Beckton.

All of which keeps us a lot safer than the way we were in Victorian times. So safe that we seldom bother about it. We live in a clean, well-kept environment where the thought of germs is far away, unaware of our lucky escape from the clutches of bubonic plague and cholera.

Both are still around of course. Cholera ready to break out wherever flooding contaminates drinking water. And the plague still lurking in Madagascar, where 2,348 case were confirmed just last November – a mere 13½-hour hop away by Boeing.

Out of sight, out of mind

Our thoughts might be far away, but germs aren’t. Viruses, bacteria and fungi are part of our daily life and all around us. We’re even half bacteria ourselves, microorganisms in our gut helping us digest food, create proteins and even manage our immune systems.

So we take chances. Every day dicing with death without even knowing we’re doing it.

We KNOW about germs and how dangerous they are. But because we feel safe, we don’t think about them. So every day we put our lives at risk, as surely as back in Victorian times.

At work we’re careless, heads full of business, too busy to worry about hygiene. Which is why we take no notice that our workplace is teeming with health hazards.

Our personal attitudes aren’t much better. We might have a bath more than once a year, but you’d never think so from the research on our hygiene levels.

Bubonic plague and cholera haven’t gone away, they’re just held back by massive hygiene defence systems.

Even so, from our own behaviour, there’s nothing to stop us from coming down with tummy bugs like norovirus, salmonella, campylobacter and e.coli. Or respiratory illnesses like Aussie flu, MERS, SARS, TB or pneumonia. Any one of which could be the death of us, if modern medicine wasn’t there to catch when we fall.

Makes you think twice about keeping ourselves clean, doesn’t it?

Two thirds of health?

It never feels like it, but forgetting to wash our hands is just as deadly as playing Russian roulette.

May you live long and happy.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Kitchen hide and seek – looks clean, but is it safe?

Germs in kitchen
War against germs – there is a way to win

OK, time out.

Pretend you’re a germ in a professional kitchen – one of those high-performance, quick-acting norovirus types – a food poisoning nightmare – where would you hide?

There’s no time limit, you start airborne, coming in on some posh lady’s red Christian Dior coat. Through-draft from the HVAC system wafts you across the dining room and the rubber seal on the kitchen door sucks you in. The kitchen, whoo-hoo!

It’s moist in here and warm, all those pots boiling and bubbling. You’re airborne, somewhere near the hood over the stove area. There’s prep stations on both sides, two big bain maries, and a massive deep tray of cooked vegetables. Take your choice.

A word of warning. Most places, they’ll come at you with professional cleaning liquids – spray surfactants that also disinfect. They’ll go at work tops and counters every few minutes – and the floor gets done four times a day. Tricky.

Or not. Clever thinking puts you on the underside of a prep station – basically a metal table top against one of the walls. It has a quick wipe-down surface and shows dirt instantly. But you’re right, nobody thinks about the underside – and sometimes they even put black rubbish bags down there.

Under the sink’s good too. You might like the moisture. They’re always washing in this place and ripples of water slop over all the time. Yes, it’s often got detergent but that never deterred you did it? Ha, ha. Moisture makes you grow!

Oh, you’ve gone for somewhere else – the ceiling! Good thinking, they’ll never get you there. Everything all gets wiped down and disinfected, but only the work surfaces. Nobody thinks of the air itself – that’s 80% of the room space – or those places normally out of reach.

But when you’re only 2 microns across, you can ride the air currents to wherever you like. The updraft from that pot of boiling courgettes should do fine. And you’re right in the middle, above all the action. Perfect.

Safe to breed and multiply. Ready for your future generations to drop down and ride to wherever. One of those house specials, for instance. Into the middle of that “terrine of foie gras and suffolk chicken, damson, celeriac hazelnut and toasted brioche”. Ever so posh.

That full-of-himself bloke in the Brunello Cucinelli wool suit, rabbiting on with “Anything but Chardonnay” is going to love you. The up-chucks and the runs. All that sitting on the loo. How many days will you give it? Five? Like your thinking. That’ll teach him to shoot his mouth off.

But oh, oh. There’s a problem. They’ve shut the kitchen down for the night and just rolled in this thing like an electronic wheelie bin. Some kind of sprayer, from the looks of it. Let them try. Up here on the ceiling you should be jake. Just keep doing what you’re doing.

Except it isn’t going to work is it? That spray-mist it’s putting out is ultra-fine, tiny molecules smaller than droplets of water. See look, it’s ionised, actually reaching out and grabbing hold of your buddies down there. What a way to go, ripped apart by oxygen atoms – these people are monsters.

And whoops! That stuff is rising too, spreading everywhere. It’s reached in under that prep station – thank goodness you didn’t hang out there. Up, up, nobody told you about mist rising, swirling across the ceiling. Better face facts, pal – you’re going to get yours.

Because it’s hydrogen peroxide is why – and no bacteria or virus comes back from exposure to that. And just to be brutal, it’s boosted with colloidal silver. You and your whole dynasty are gone, finished, kaput.

Sure, it’s a horrible death – but you know what? We never liked you anyway.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:19:55.

Workplace wellness, check. But how about illness prevention?

Infection protection
Getting rid of the germs BEFORE they do any damage – that’s illness prevention in action. Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

Illness prevention? Ask the air traffic control people at Gatwick Airport.

A vital job handled by highly skilled people. Yet just as vulnerable as any other business to staff calling in sick at the last minute. Especially more than one.

Because where’s the backup – and the backup for the backups – that such critical roles demand?

Standing into danger

Without illness prevention, and two down out of a team of three, the options are rigidly clear. Watch the one remaining controller like a hawk. And shut down the airport at the slightest sign of stress – or whenever the poor plane-pusher has to take a break.

Which is of course, exactly what happened this week – luckily in the graveyard shift, when few flights had to be diverted.

It could have been worse – in the middle of the day at the height of the half-term break – AND simultaneous with an air traffic control strike in Europe.

Not much complementary gym membership and free keep fit classes can do against that, no matter how healthy it makes people. When illness strikes, wellness packages make no difference. The business goes down and there’s not much to do about it – just hope the fallout is minimal.

Unless of course, there’s a Plan B. The get-out-of-jail-free card of illness prevention.

Three air traffic controllers working closely together in the intense, air-conditioned control room of the world’s busiest single-runway airport and one of them coughing his lungs out?

A disaster waiting to happen – hopefully not the plane crash type.

But just as disastrous in an accounts office – except somehow the setback is accepted. It happens, people get ill, what can you do?

Invoking Plan B

Stop illnesses happening in the first place of course. Exactly what illness prevention is about.

Stopping germs, avoiding infection, reducing exposure to harmful conditions.

Mould, for instance. Often a factor in so-called “sick building syndrome.” Damp in the building, mould spores in the air, lots of people with respiratory problems – colds, flu, asthma.

And all transferring in a never-ending cycle. Infecting first one person, then another. Round and round, touching everybody – because we all work closely together, breathing the same air, sharing the same space.

Sharing the same infections too.

As the woman on crutches said in A&E, listening to all the coughs and wheezes of a busy Saturday night, “If you haven’t got it yet, you’re going to get it here.”

Unless there’s an illness prevention Plan B.

Something to stop or reduce the effect of that sneezing air traffic controller from passing on germs to the other two – head down and stuck at their desks, unable to escape from radar screens and status monitors.

Illness prevention – no germs, no risk

Like, just suppose there were no germs in the first place.

First sign of any illness or infection, the sufferer is sent home to get well in isolation – reducing the threat to the others still holding the fort. No germs to circulate – or less than there were when the victim was still present.

Next, how about the whole place is sterilised at the end of the day? Any lingering germs totally neutralised, eliminated, zeroed, dialled to nought.

And that really means the whole place. The shared air space, which is 80% of any room; all the walls, ceiling and floor; under and behind all furniture; deep into all cracks and crevices. And of course all the things that everybody touches all the time – light switches, door handles, touchscreens, keyboards, documents, pens, keys, money, everything.

Slightly more effective than a wellness package, right?

More likely to keep the business going without interruption. Or threats to its safety and operating budget.

Effective illness prevention.

It’s a Plan B that works.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting.  However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

Get one third extra staff – at no extra cost

One third more staff
Claw back time lost to being unwell at work, and every team member can give you a third of themselves extra

Extra staff. How to afford them? Where to put them? What will the shareholders say?

Except these are no ordinary extra staff.

The extra you know

They’re experienced and known to you. Trusted, with proven track records. Valued performers with first-hand knowledge of your business and its customers.

Already in place and up to speed.

Extra special, like they were meant for the role. Hand-picked by you, which of course they are.

Because, yes – they ARE your special team. Only there’s one third more of them.

One third more time, more effort, more expertise, more guiding hands.

Larger than life and already giving you extra.

With never a murmur about overtime or extra salary.

Doing what they’ve always done, only one third more of it.

Smiling about it too. Happy to be there and going for it. Extra revved up, extra enthusiastic, extra prepared to take on the world and win.

And all achievable right now, without extra cost.

You just have to give the nod. Sign off on the nixing the hurdle that’s holding them back – the ever-present obstacle that stops them doing their job fully.

Unwell at work holds them back

Latch onto that thought – fully.

Because however good they are, that’s not what any staff are delivering at the moment.

Chances are, if your business is like most others, they’re only capable of nine months out of every twelve. That’s what you get in real terms – and that’s what you’re paying for.

The rest of the time, however dedicated and committed they might be, they’re just not up to it.

Illness holds them back, sapping their strength and concentration. Causing their work to slip below par – so it takes longer, or has to be done again.

Or worse, goes pear-shaped and winds up being a liability.

Not something you expect from a professional.

But that’s what happens when they insist on coming to work with a stinker of a cold, their dog of twelve wonderful years just died – and their other half is also at work, nursing a sprained wrist and bruised coccyx from slipping and falling on ice.

The cost of unwellness

You can see it happening, can’t you? And where do you think their poor head is, trying to cope with that AND push your sales over-target for the third month running?

Unwell at work, right?

Partly caused by germs, partly caused by grief, partly caused by worry.

Oh yes, and while you think about it, those germs are exploding round the office with every hacking cough and 20-megaton sneeze.

So it’s not just one professional, limping along under par – pretty soon it will be the rest of them. The whole office, off-colour at once. All at their desks and trying – but with the best will in the world, nowhere close to making it.

That’s what held back is – being unwell at work. Not bad enough to be home in bed, at least that’s contained and planned for.

No, this is worse. Sometimes people forcing themselves to keep going. Fear of looking like wimps, anxious not to overload colleagues, super gung-ho to get results, or just so depressed that coming to work is some kind of therapy.

OK, so give the nod.

Because people are like that 57.5 days a year, according to research. Almost three working months of effort and concentration. Lost to stomach cramps, headache, colds, flu, back pain, muscle spasm, vomiting, diarrhoea, you name it.

Pay for twelve months, get nine

You pay for twelve months at full power. You get nine months – with the rest in unpredictable blips and snatches.

And your staff are miserable with it, knowing they’re under-performing.

Prevent them being unwell and they’ll gladly give the three months you’re not getting. One third extra on the nine-month years you’ve been used to – no wonder productivity is a challenge!

So eliminate the germs that cause such mayhem. Germs in the workplace that everybody breathes and touches in the shared existence of professionals working closely together.

Take away the grief of these symptoms, and your people become like new beings. Plus you show you’re thinking of them and it makes them feel good. Get the place sterilised and everybody is razzling. Full marks for motivation.

Which can stretch a lot further if you’ve a mind to. By giving some of that extra time you’ve won back again.

Time, the healer

You see, germs are a big chunk of being unwell at work, but not all of it. There’s still the head stuff of emotion and circling thoughts. Coping with anguish and worries – often nothing to do with work, though there’s plenty of that too. Relationship issues and confidence crises, even among the toughest.

A lot of these you can fix with time – because you’ve got it. Three working months per team member before you start losing on where you are at the moment. Plenty of time to take off and sort out worries – see the bank manger, get the parcel from Argos, check the bullying at school,  see to the ailing budgerigar, or just stay quiet and grieve.

Time too, to step in and find out about work issues. They might be small on the surface, but they’re monumental to the person feeling them. And nothing reassures more than the boss being involved enough to sort things out. If the Big Guy’s got time for it, this can only be the right place to work.

Which leaves muscle pain and long-lasting conditions. But even here, time has therapy. Things take longer with physical pain, but patience takes away the feeling of being crowded for results. Things can be taken easy and you’ve got time to give away. 57.5 days per staff member to be exact.

Extra productivity

So what have you got?

No more germs, no more illnesses to catch. No more unwell at work – or at least vastly reduced. Extra professional staff hours from a team you already know and trust – out of the blue, at no extra cost in salaries, overtime, holidays or anything.

Just the odd £30 a day to keep the germs away, and you’re laughing.

Which brings us to your next problem.

What are you going to do with all that extra productivity?

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting.  However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

Staff illnesses cost us £319 BILLION a year – and our only protection is a flu jab?

How good is anyone’s work when not feeling well? How much does it cost in lost time and mistakes? Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash

That annual office flu jab is not exactly the best protection .

Only 20% effective against this year’s H3N2 virus. And hardly at all against flanking H1N1, B/Yamagata or B/Victoria strains.

And zero of course against the billions and billions of other germs that surround us every day.

Like your favourite and ours at this time of the year – the winter vomiting bug, norovirus. Or its happy gastric playmates – salmonella, campylobacter, e.coli. Pick any you like, between them they make us feel lousy 57.5 days a year.

Unwell at work

Not off sick and languishing in our beds mind – just ill enough to give us a horrible day at work. Barely able to cope and dying for five o’clock to come round and put us out of our misery.

Especially if it’s legionnaire’s disease.

Never heard of it? Very few of us have – until it crops up on OUR watch.

That’s when Health & Safety throw the protection book at you. No excuse,, see?

You’ve never heard of this thing, yet they’ll fine you A MILLION QUID or more for not providing protection. A nasty like pneumonia that breeds in water tanks and pipes, then goes riding around in the aircon system.

One whiff of that and staff could die. Which is why Health & Safety come down heavy if you don’t take precautions.

A percentage of turnover plus a custodial sentence?

Par for the course.

G4S Cash Solutions had to cough up £1.8 million.  And the £1 million fine for retailers JTF Wholesale just about put them out of business when two customers died and nineteen others needed treatment.

Don’t mess with Health & Safety

Which is why protection regulations are chiselled in stone at HSE’s Head Office in Bootle, Merseyside.

By law you have to keep staff safe and protected. Not just from the molten metal machinery on the factory floor – but from pretty well any hazard that could harm staff wellbeing. Even the deadly bubonic plague, brought back invisibly from last month’s sales trip to Madagascar.

Be found negligent and you could be facing a corporate manslaughter charge, just for neglecting a few invisible germs.

Yes, you could get banged up for it.  But more likely on your way to being broke first.

Which where we get that £319 billion from. The combined cost of sickness absenteeism – £29 billion from being off sick from work. And the TEN TIMES greater cost of sickness presenteeism  – £290 billion from people working at their desks unwell.

Spiralling knock-ons

Scary costs, yes – and they could easily be a lot worse. Because how good is productivity when staff struggle through their workloads feeling like death? How much should you add for mistakes, oversights, damaged relationships and having to repeat things over and over?

Without wanting to be prophets of doom, here’s a simple calculator to help work it out.

Scarier still is that most illnesses at work probably ORIGINATE there too.

You can’t see germs. But count on it, they’re there alright – and the track record for most workplaces is not good.

Workplace health hazards

To make things worse, most of us have really lax personal hygiene as well.

Get the picture? Already ten to one, you’re in dereliction of ensuring staff protection from germs. Added to which what would shareholders say if they knew the real impact of workplace health hazards against productivity?

Bad, bad, yes – but it doesn’t have to be a disaster.

Get out of jail free

Because germs can be neutralised in as little as forty minutes for around £30 a day. No viruses, no bacteria, everything sterilised to zero everywhere in the office.

Real protection – with all germs safely eliminated after everyone has gone home at night.

Worth the money?

You tell us.

In one hit you reclaim most of the sickness costs of both absenteeism and presenteeism. All except those caused by muscular pain and being stressed out.

With staff back to feeling healthy and revved up, productivity starts nudging upwards again. Health & Safety are off your back with all hazards removed. And chances are good you don’t even need company flu jabs any more.

Amazing what a little protection buys, isn’t it?

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.