Hand Hygiene

Hand Hygiene

Read About Hand Hygiene at First Aid Distributions Online

Why is it so important to wash your hands?

Have you washed your hands today? It’s one of the most important steps you can take to avoid becoming sick and spreading germs to others.

Many diseases are spread by something as simple as not washing your hands with soap and clean running water. These diseases include respiratory diseases such as influenza and gastrointestinal diseases such as salmonella.

Washing your hands properly can help prevent bacteria and viruses from spreading and causing these diseases.

Were you aware that some forms of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections can cause serious complications, particularly for old people, children, and those with a weakened immune system?

How germs get onto hands and make people sick

Faeces from people or animals is a major source of germs like E.Coli 0157, salmonella, and norovirus, which cause diarrhoea and spread some respiratory infections. These kinds of germs get on to people’s hands after using the toilet or changing a nappy but also in less obvious ways such as when handling raw meat.

Did you know that a single gram of human faeces (about the weight of a paper clip) can contain a whopping 3 trillion germs!

Germs can also get onto hands by people touching an object that has germs on it, perhaps from someone sneezing or coughing, or because it was touched by another contaminated object. When these germs get onto a person’s hands and aren’t washed off, they can be passed to another person and make them sick. Washing your hands prevents illnesses and helps avoid infecting others.

Washing your hands with soap and clean running water removes germs and this helps prevent infections because:

  • Most people aren't aware of how many times they touch their mouth, eyes, and nose during the day. Germs that have entered the body via these places can make us sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be passed on to other objects such as door handles, handrails, and kids toys and then transferred to someone else’s hands.
  • Germs from hands that haven’t been washed can get into drinks and food as people prepare or consume them. Under certain conditions, germs can multiply in some types of food and drink and make us ill.

When to wash your hands

A person should always wash their hands:

  • After using the toilet or changing a nappy
  • Before, during, and after food preparation
  • Before eating
  • Between handling raw, cooked, and ready to eat food
  • After smoking
  • After using a handkerchief or tissue
  • After working in the garden or handling rubbish
  • Before and after attending to sick people
  • After stroking animals

The correct way to wash your hands

  • Wet your hands with clean running water and then turn off the tap
  • Put some soap on to your hands and lather well for about 20 seconds or longer if the dirt in ingrained
  • Rub both hands together rapidly across all surfaces of your hands and wrists
  • If possible, remove rings and watches before washing your hands or make sure you move your rings so you can wash under them, as micro-organisms can exist beneath them
  • Don’t forget to wash the back of your hands and wrists, between your fingers and underneath your fingernails
  • Keep your hands under running water until all traces of soap are gone
  • Use a clean paper towel to dry your hands or air dry them
  • Be sure to dry under your rings as any moist places can become a source of future contamination
  • If there is one available, then use a hot air dryer

Always use running water

It’s always best to use running water than washing your hands in a basin of still water which could become contaminated through use. You may find warm water helps your soap lather up well. That said, cold water and soap are perfectly acceptable. Hot water can impact the natural oils of the skin and over time this could lead to dermatitis.

Soap is important

Washing hands with soap and water is far more effective than using water on its own and will remove far more disease-causing organisms.

Liquid soap is best

Generally, we advise people to use liquid soap rather than a bar of soap, especially in the workplace. However, bar soap is better than no soap at all.

Take care of your hands

Washing your hands is just one small part of hand hygiene. Looking after your skin as a whole is important, as your skin is the most effective barrier against infection. Once you’ve thoroughly dried your hands:

  • Use a water-based hand cream 2 or 3 times a day, or more often if your hands are frequently exposed to water
  • Wash dishes wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands
  • When gardening always wear gloves to prevent a build-up of soil getting beneath your fingernails and from scratching your hands
  • Should you develop a skin irritation then always consult your doctor if it continues

Handwashing helps tackle the problem of rising resistance to antibiotics

By preventing sickness, we can lower the number of antibiotics that people use and the likelihood that we'll develop resistance to antibiotics. Handwashing can prevent around 30% of diarrhoea related sickness and about 20% of colds. All too often antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily for these illnesses. Reducing the number of infections by washing hands helps to prevent the overuse of antibiotics which is the main reason that antibiotic resistance is occurring all around the world. It can also help prevent people contracting germs that are already resistant to antibiotics and therefore more difficult to treat.

So, there you have it – the importance of washing your hands.

Public Toilet Hand Hygiene Crisis

The science behind good hand hygiene is well established, so why is it that our public toilets don’t have adequate hand washing facilities?

The answer is vandalism, our local councils have opted to stop providing soap dispensers because they are getting vandalised as fast as they are going up.

Or you are lucky enough to find a facility with hand soap but it is dirty, discoloured and easily contaminated by anyone (not sealed), you end up with dirtier hands than when you started!

* Installed in 2016

Whats The answer?

There has been no solution to combat these senseless vandals until recently, the OPS Vandal Proof Soap Dispenser has been serving Australian Schools & Local Councils since 2016 with a 100% success rate.

So how much dose it cost?

We’ll let you in on a little secret, the average daily cost is $0.32 - $0.75 per dispenser per day for our council customers. So there really is no excuse!

It is not good enough to just have No Soap

Installed December 2016

Local Public Toilet


None able to handle high rate of vandalism, dozens of dispensers destroyed with end result being No Soap.

Not even slightest sign of vandalism, 100% uptime with Nil Maintenance costs.

Average public toilet use $0.32 - $0.75 per dispenser per day* (Average taken from all Australian Council Customers from early 2016)

Installed July 2016

School Toilet


Common plastic liquid soap dispenser, persistent issue of buttons being smashed. Soap wasted and spilt on floor posing slip hazard.

No maintenance required, removed OHS slip risk with OPS foam soap drying and blowing away. Maintenance costs reduced to $0 since installation.

Average public toilet use $0.27 - $0.72 per dispenser per day* (Average taken from all Australian School Customers from early 2016)

Nominate Council / Facility that Needs Soap

Use the below form to notify us of a local public toilet that does not have adequate soap dispensers.

It is now time to act and start providing adequate hand washing facilities!

OPS Vandal Proof Soap Dispenser.