Although most workplaces in any industry in South Africa adhere to basic hygiene principles, some occupations have more onerous hygiene requirements than others. That said, in any workplace, even basic protocols around ablutions and other daily behaviour need policy in order to ensure that everyone understands hygiene’s necessity.

Hygiene in the workplace is most essential in industries that handle hazardous goods, risk injuring or contaminating employees in any way, or can have knock-on effects from their products, such as the food and pharmaceutical industries. Unsafe construction, or manufacturing practices, or chemical and hazardous material handling, diminish overall health – which is bad news for staff. Contaminated food or medicines can spell disaster for end users down the line – which is bad news for everyone.

Safety Risk Assessment

Basic Occupational hygiene

Additionally, all organisations can suffer greater absenteeism and lower morale from unhygienic premises, so it’s important that basic hygiene is defined and controlled for, no matter what product or service is being offered by a company. To the extent that staff are the very lubricant of successful business – the hands and eyes that make products or services happen – occupational hygiene is both necessary from that point of view, as well as simply being the decent way to do things, period.

To contextualise the essential nature of hygiene, it helps to define it. Merriam-Webster describes hygiene as “a science of the establishment and maintenance of health”, and “conditions or practices (as of cleanliness) conducive to health”. Seen thus, it can be appreciated that workplace hygiene, which may often seem insignificant only because people as individuals generally carry a basic understanding of hygiene, is an essential component of modern commercial conduct.

Hygiene in the Workplace

Because we all generally wash our hands after going to the loo, or know better than to handle chemicals that might obviously burn skin without wearing PPE, it’s easy to lump hygiene in with “common sense”. Hygiene sense is often not common, however, and it’s unfair to assume that everyone has a broad scientific understanding of it. Training is needed in the correct identification of hazards and the practice of sound hygiene and safety, in any particular industry. Staff need to understand their workplace and its processes and products.

Many different sources of contamination exist in the workplace, from both input products or processes, as well as simply from the gathering of a diverse group of people from various locales each day. Diverse products, materials and goods handled all carry their own protocol for safe employment. Hygienic standards are set in legislation, but hygiene in the workplace is far more a reflection of company ethos and professionalism. Poor hygiene in the workplace impacts profitability at the end of the day, something business can appreciate when defining stringent practices for all employees.

Workplace Hygiene Solutions

You can call on IOH Solutions to determine your occupational health and safety standing, including a comprehensive suite of services specifically designed to address overall workplace hygiene. So much more than mere sanitation, hygiene in the workplace looks at every possibly negative input into working lives, as mandated by South African legislation, making workplaces safer and smarter, and more profitable.

Workplace hygiene starts with an accredited practitioner like IOH Solutions at the helm of evaluation and compliance – call us to discuss our affordable and prompt service!