Hygiene negligence is not a crime. But not washing your hands can get you in a lot of trouble – even outside the medical sector.
A shocking number us are guilty of forgetting to do it, or not even thinking about it. And then we wonder why wildfire illnesses like norovirus can suddenly come out of nowhere and turn our world upside down.
Fact is, we touch so many things in an ordinary day, our hands are inevitably contaminated.
But because they don’t look dirty – most germs are too small to see, even with a powerful microscope – cleaning them off is not on our radar.
We’re pretty sloppy if we ever do remember too. Because incredibly:
- 95% of people don’t wash their hands properly.
- 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after the loo.
- Only 12% of people wash their hands before eating.
OK, so here’s a question.
If your hands didn’t get washed, how about the things you touch after you’ve been to the loo? Don’t they become contaminated? There’s poo on there – minute traces of faecal matter – inevitably transferred to documents you handle, and so to the hands of your colleagues.
Don’t believe us?
Try this. Every banknote in the country – including the tenner in your purse – is contaminated with cocaine.
As a result, among all the other things you have on there, your hands have small traces of cocaine on them. You’re tainted, even though you never use the stuff – and never go anywhere near a dealer.
Worse, any test would prove positive – and you could be fired. Just like the poor bus driver in Bristol – sacked after handling several hundred pounds in cash and then not washing his hands.
But it doesn’t have to be drugs that get you busted. Straight poo will do. Not washing your hands is not choosy.
Like, how about your whole office goes down at a critical stage – everybody working on a big make-or-break business pitch – specially-hired consultants, a whole team of experts, plus visiting firemen from overseas… then norovirus puts them out of action?
Cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea – nobody can work with those. Four critical days off the grid, everything dead in the water. So what happens when the job goes pear-shaped and the contract falls through?
Cutbacks, staff layoffs – the brass will want to know why.
So suppose they investigate and trace the source of the outbreak to you? And suppose because of TV security surveillance, they can prove not washing your hands after being in the loo?
Yeah OK, you’re a workaholic and you were actually sitting on the bog, thrashing out vital details on your phone. Sure, nobody is more committed than you. But now straight carelessness has brought the whole company down.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, right? And so unnecessary. Simply from not washing your hands.
How many millions is it? And they can tie the negligence directly to you? The deal of the century, down the tubes – just because you didn’t wash your hands?
Price of forgetfulness
You could be looking at dismissal, maybe even a ban on working in the same industry for months or years. It happens to careless professionals in the medical sector, so why not to you?
Never knew not washing your hands could be so important?
So what if it wasn’t norovirus, but something more lethal? Cholera, say, from your holiday in South Africa. Those contaminated guavas you bought in Kwa-Zulu Natal – only you didn’t know they were contaminated.
And you’re OK, by lucky chance you’re a carrier – it doesn’t affect you – but two of those experts have underlying heart conditions and one of them dies. What then?
Yeah, just simple soap and water.
With proper scrubbing of your fingers going through Happy Birthday twice, the easy abrasive action gets rid of 99.9% of all germs on your hands.
Five minutes dry to dry – and you get to keep your job, your colleagues are OK, the big deal comes in, and everybody gets a raise.
Not washing your hands has a lot more riding on it than any of us realise.
Picture Copyright: bruno135 / 123RF Stock Photo