The importance of handwashing

Employees must wash hands

Harmful bacteria, or pathogens, are found on almost everything we touch. People can carry them in or on their bodies, pick them up when handling raw food or by touching objects that have been previously contaminated. Once our hands are contaminated, it is very easy for these harmful organisms to spread to our food and cause illness.


Effective handwashing prevents the spread of harmful bacteria and only requires a few simple steps:

  1. Wet hands with warm water.
  2. Apply soap to hands and lather vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Pay particular attention to fingernails, finger tips and in-between fingers.
  3. Rinse with warm water.
  4. Dry hands with disposable towels or blow dryer.

Food service personnel must wash their hands:

  • Before starting work.
  • After using the restroom.
  • Before and after handling ice.
  • Prior to and after using single-use gloves.
  • While preparing food, as often as necessary to remove excess soil.
  • When switching between tasks, such as preparing food and serving food.
  • After handling non-food items such as garbage bags or cleaning chemicals.
  • After touching exposed parts of the body or clothes, other than clean hands.
  • Between handling money and handling food, if not working solely at the register.

Water is necessary

Some hand care products claim to be effective without washing or rinsing with warm water. Hand washing without water is not considered effective in removing soil, grease and bacteria/
viruses.

Highlights

  • The presence of harmful bacteria or pathogens is likely present on nearly everything that we touch.
  • Effective handwashing prevents the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Handwashing must occur whenever starting or ending any task.
  • Use soap and water to effectively remove soil, grease and bacteria.
Employees must wash hands
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
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