Don’t let festival fun get in the way of good hand hygiene

2nd of September 2019 Article by Jamie Woodhall
Don’t let festival fun get in the way of good hand hygiene

Jamie Woodhall, technical & innovations manager at Initial Washroom Hygiene, offers advice on staying safe at festivals.

It's been another exciting festival season, with events like Glastonbury, Reading and Bestival drawing Brits to venues across the country to enjoy live music (and hopefully some sunshine!). However, the fun of festivals can create hygiene challenges for organisers. Given the high footfall and mass sharing of temporary facilities like portaloos, germs can spread more quickly.

Ensuring high standards of hygiene at festival season is a near impossible task, especially in outdoor areas where dirt and mud are unavoidable. But true cleanliness goes beyond mud-splattered wellies; it's about ensuring eventgoers have access to the right hand and surface hygiene products so they can put themselves in the best possible position to avoid bacterial infection.

The risk at hand

One of the most common health complaints at festivals is a bout of sickness or diarrhoea. This can come in the form of norovirus, flu or the common cold.

Hands are a natural breeding ground for bacteria and one of the principal carriers of disease-causing germs. The spread of these germs is a result of cross contamination from visitors spending time in communal areas or shared facilities where germs can pass from one person to another through indirect contact with contaminated surfaces.

At a festival, this will mostly likely happen in the toilet where many people will be touching the same door handle or toilet roll holder, or even at food stalls where people will be using the same condiment bottles.

It might seem obvious, but special care needs to be taken to ensure that all facilities and portaloos have stations to clean or wash hands before eating, after using the toilet and after handling rubbish.

Management for the masses

Facilities management at festivals is no mean feat, with venues needing to ensure enough toilets and water taps are available across an entire site, to cater to the tens of thousands of guests.

When these decisions are made, it's also important to consider what hand hygiene services you'll provide within these key communal areas - especially when we know most attendees will have limited access to showers.

Ideally, portaloos should have sinks with fresh running water and soap, so attendees can wash their hands properly. Drying facilities are also imperative given damp hands spread 1000 times more bacteria than dry hands .

Hand sanitiser is another effective bacteria-reducing option for festivals, forming a long-lasting barrier against microbes and providing ongoing protection for several hours after use. Sanitiser can be distributed via convenient dispensers, which should be installed in the cubicle itself, but also near food stalls and water taps, to encourage high levels of hand hygiene across all areas of a festival site.

Surface level hygiene

As well as hands, increasing the hygiene level of surfaces within portaloos is also important. Providing surface cleanser wipes in the cubicle itself will encourage users to wipe down a toilet seat or handle before and after use. Once used, surface wipes can offer up to 24 hours residual protection making them ideal for use in areas like this, where higher levels of hygiene are required.

Waste disposal

It may seem like an obvious consideration, but many festival organisers neglect to provide enough waste bins both in the toilet and around a washroom. This can result in people leaving paper towels on the floor, leading to an unsightly and unhygienic toilet space. For female washroom users, the provision of sanitary bins is another consideration in order to ensure menstrual hygiene products are disposed of in a correct and discreet way.

Final words

As we wave goodbye to another festival season, now is the perfect time for event managers to plan for next year's event with hygiene as a priority. Providing enough hand washing stations and hand sanitiser dispensers, paired with correct waste disposal, should create a clean and hygienic festival experience for all.


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