Dirty hands in Europe's businesses

23rd of August 2011
Dirty hands in Europe's businesses

A European study into workplace hygiene carried out by service provider Initial shows that hygiene standards are severely lacking, with a high percentage of workers failing to wash their hands after a visit to the toilet.

Employees in France and the Benelux countries are the worst offenders: in France 83 per cent of men and 76 per cent of women do not wash their hands, while in the Benelux the figure is 83 per cent and 77 per cent. In Germany 72 per cent of men and 59 per cent of women don't wash their hands. In Italy the figure is 70 per cent of men and 63 per cent of women not washing; while in the UK the corresponding figures are 73 per cent and 63 per cent.

Benelux businesses are the worst at providing soap dispensers - 25 per cent don't have access to them - while Germans are the best, with just 11 per cent not having systems in place. In Italy 23 per cent don't have access to soap, in the UK it's 22 per cent and in France 17 per cent.

Over half of Italian workers believe their workplace toilets pose a potential health risk, compared to only 19 per cent of Benelux employees. And more Italian workers than elsewhere in Europe believe hygiene standards in have worsened in the difficult economic climate. Interestingly, however, it's in Germany that the most workers believe the last time they were off sick was due to something picked up in the workplace - 44 per cent.

Across all the countries of Europe, a high percentage of workers are likely to think less of employers who fail to show a responsible approach to hygiene, believing it shows a lack of care about the health of employees.

For the survey 6,000 respondents were interviewed in France, Germany, Italy, Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and the UK.


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