Leadership Forum Members
Handwash monitoring by observation is an important component in understanding employee handwash behaviors but it is not a stand-alone solution to motivating more handwashing. Handwashing rates in most of the foodservice industry are less than desired by the operators themselves.
Increasingly the away-from-home dining public is appreciating the visual acts of staff handwashing and glove changes. Some operators are building an action plan to raise hand and high-touch surface cleanliness from being an expense up into the revenue row.
Can this be a business differentiator?
Confirmed by the presiding doctor, salmonella drifted through his system, finding the knee cartilage as a long-term harbor to feed, breed and accumulate. The result was a full knee replacement.
FDA's Captain Wendy Fanaselle took attendees of the Food Safety Summit on a research guided graphical trip of the restroom to emphasize the importance of killing the fecal-pathogens before they escape into public areas.
Toilet paper, designed by those more concerned about flushability than its barrier properties, doesn't do the job. Single or double ply, soft or strong, research indicates pathogens still escape the basic maneuver and often proceed beyond the restroom doors.
Toilet paper is an advance over at least three of its earlier substitutes:
The Southwest Environmental Health Association, during their 2013 annual meeting, volunteered to help establish a reference number for restaurant outbreaks due to poor hand hygiene. The group, largely local, state and national regulators, was asked What percentage of foodborne outbreaks are attributable to poor hand hygiene? They were given these choices: 20%, 40%, 60% or 80%.
Defining a safe level for handwashing frequency
Norovirus outbreaks commonly raise this question: What is a safe level for handwashing frequency?
If we look to the FDA for answers, the Model Food Code wisely avoids getting over prescriptive, considering all the variables.
The CDC conducted a valuable observational study using the Model Food Code as its benchmark. They concluded 8.6 Handwashes/Employee Hour (HW/EH) were required to be code-compliant, a total of 69 Handwashes per 8 hour shift
This led to other questions: Is the Model Food Code already over-prescriptive or truly risk-based? Would this level of handwashing be in conflict with customer service? In general, a level of 8.6 HW/EH is seen as too much to ask of employees. Regulators generally agree.
More effective use of tongs and wraps can lower the need for handwashing but the basic issue remains. Some situations, like following restroom use, clearly demand a good handwash. A casual touch of the face or hair is a lot less risky yet the Code specifies the same handwash for both. Is that risk-based or inspection based?
A frequency rate target of 8.6 HW/EH discourages reasonable, attainable compliance improvement. It protects the status quo. "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good."
We believe the Food Code in this case should prioritize the risks by establishing categories of High, Moderate and Low. Operators then set up a controllable process based on risk, a process to which they are committed.
Richard F. Ghiselli, Head of Purdue's School of Hospitality, is the lead researcher and author of a study which shows that senior diners value restaurant cleanliness above all else. In fact, it took home the top three spots:
On entering your hotel room, place of work or study, wash your hands on arrival. Touch high-touch surfaces with care.
Last year's fast start on the Norovirus season caused concern from the CDC, FDA and all food safety savvy operators. This year two of the largest cruise liner outbreaks ever sent two ships back to port early with over 900 vomiting passengers. Once again the focus is on guest handwashing and the cleaning of shared surfaces, now recognized as a major guest-to-guest hazard.
Norovirus or Winter Vomiting Disease. Vomitus or Diarrhea. Fecal or Faecal. Contaminated Hands or Surfaces. Foodborne or Person-to-Person. We hear a lot of conflicting distractions. The six simple truths about norovirus are these:
The will to wash one's hands can be easily sidetracked by any one of these situations:
10. Grungy faucet handles
9. No paper towels available for drying
8. Handsink blocked or used for temporary storage
7. Handsink grime
6. Slow drain, waste water splashes
5. Handsink is too far away
4. Bar soap or harsh, poor rinsing soap
3. Water too hot or too cold, too slow to adjust
2. Empty soap dispenser
1. Scary refillable hand soap dispenser
Martha Stewart, like so many celebrity “demonstration” chefs, likely missed a handwash and paid a price, “spending days in bed.” We hope she is luckier than some where the salmonella retreats to slowly work on a weakened joint and ends up as a later-in-life knee replacement: New York Post Article »
For those demonstration chefs working in environments full of lights but short on running water, try the hand sanitizer based SaniTwice® protocol.
Twelve years of formal and informal research have provided the Handwashing For Life Institute with a long list of reasons and excuses for low handwashing rates. Operators seldom know their specific frequency rate but generally feel it is well below what they would like.
This long list has been distilled into The 5 Handwashing Hurdles. An explanation of each is available here.
Please take a moment to share your opinion as to which hurdle or hurdles you think are most responsible for lower than desired foodservice handwashing rates.
eduCards are more about education.
Rather than serving as behavioral reminders as in posters, our eduCards call attention to hand hygiene risks where corrective actions may be in order. These are often attached to an email and exchanged within a organization to raise awareness of an unresolved issue. In some targeted situations eduCcards also serve as posters.
Why poor hand washers need better paper
Single-use paper toweling is a critical component in professional handwashing, whether in restaurants, schools, the workplace or hospitals and nursing homes. The choice of drying method and materials is first driven by user habits and the risks resulting from potential failures in the hand cleansing process. Hand hygiene breakdowns are measured by some in illness outbreaks and by others in absenteeism rates.
An expandable system encourages getting started.
Vision Enabled Training has introduced a system that can both track handwashing frequency and provide an indication of handwash quality by tracking one's time at the handsink. It is a system that is easily implemented, especially in the badge-free Team Mode.
How this standard strengthens profitability
A GuestReady™ Restroom is perhaps one of the most valuable customer loyalty programs. This small space plays a large role in customer retention. Restaurants don't have to spend advertising dollars to pull the returning customer away from its competitor. Here lies the increase in profitability.
First to Earn Handwashing For Life's 5 Star Hand Hygiene Award
The Atrio Restaurant's Chef Peter Fulgenzi had assessed his operation's risk if they were to experience a breakdown in their handwashing system. He set safe levels on both handwashing quality and frequency. His 12 handsink stations were optimized and he completed rigorous staff training along with a tightening of hiring policies. One gap persisted in his HandsOn process control system. Handwashing compliance monitoring remained compromised by observation only.
The 12 questions, delivered in three short survey segments, were designed to raise awareness of some unaddressed sub-issues remaining from the 2012 Conference For Food Protection's Hand Hygiene Committee, charged with identifying alternate handwashing protocols. This qualitative study was independent of the CFP process but conducted in a timeframe to capture and maintain the momentum from the May, 2012 Indianapolis session and serve as a bridge to the 2014 Committee which will be formed later this month.
Respondents were all attendees of the 2012 CFP meeting and included industry, regulatory and academia.
The overarching goal of this study is to seek the 2014 CFP Hand Hygiene Committee's consideration of each recommendation. No direct response is anticipated. The final committee report will be presented at the 2014 session.
Globally recognized for their ease of use in any language. Available in DVD and MP4 file download.
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