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Workplace medical costs sky rocket

Medical care costs have been rising in double digit figures while profits are staying constant, reducing your company’s bottom line. Ron Loeppke, MD, MPH spoke at the 2003 American Occupational Health Conference and estimated the total cost to an employer between medically related lost productivity and direct medical costs to be $18,000 per employee per year. Risks are not only for those employees that work in an office, but for those that are constantly in the field.

Keep your field people armed with a personal size, alcohol free AQtiv PURE Hand & Body Sanitizer so they can keep it in their pocket, brief case or in their car for immediate and effective skin sanitation and first aid. The first line of defense to protect your most important resource is to focus on the health of your employees. Keeping individual bottles or dispensers at your desk, break room, cafeteria, coffee station, copy room, elevator lobby, mail room, meeting rooms, and restrooms ensure there is easy access to quick sanitation. Hand hygiene is a critical piece of a corporate wellness program to keep your employees healthy and more productive.

Germs Lurking in Your Office

Germs spread quickly through our hands touching surfaces that are infected and then touching other people and surfaces. In a study conducted by Dr. Charles Gerba and the University of Arizona, they showed how germs placed on an office telephone, bathroom faucet, and doorknob quickly spread to copy machines, keyboards, hands, faces, telephones, drinking cups, pens, and a water fountain all within 30 minutes.

In a 2002 study funded by The Clorox Company, Dr. Gerba tested 12 surfaces within an office:

  1. Desktop
  2. Phone
  3. Mouse
  4. Keyboard
  5. Microwave door handle
  6. Elevator button
  7. Photocopier start button
  8. Photocopier surface
  9. Toilet seat
  10. Fax machine
  11. Refrigerator handle
  12. Water fountain handle

The top five surfaces with the greatest number of germs per square inch:

  1. Phone
  2. Desktop
  3. Water fountain handle
  4. Microware door handle
  5. Keyboard

The research indicated your desk can hold up to 10,000,000 germs or 20,961 germs per square inch. Compared to the toilet seat at only 49 germs per square inch, a work station is nearly 400 times more contaminated than a bathroom. Your desk is turned into a luxury cafeteria for germs to feast from morning until night. Dr. Gerba says, “When someone is infected with a cold or flu bug the surfaces they touch during the day become germ transfer points because some cold and flu viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours. An office can become an incubator.” Professor Sally Bloomfield, microbiologist says it this way, “The superhighways for bacteria are hands for the surfaces we touch.” For more information on this study you can go to:

Top 12 Most Common Infectious Diseases preventable by effective hand washing:

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

  • Shigellosis
  • Hepatitis A
  • E.coli 0157:H7
  • Salmonellosis
  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Common Cold
  • Influenza
  • Giardiasis
  • Impetigo
  • Fifth Disease
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink-Eye)
  • Enterobiasis (Pinworms)

Once germs are on your hands, they can get an all access pass to your body by the food and water you ingest and by touching your mouth, nose, eyes or any open sore.

-- Alcohol sanitizers’ combustion compared to Napalm

Forensic Nurse August 2004 Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers, A Blessing or Hazardous Material? By Marian Beck Clore, RN, BSN, ICP

Bottom line: promoting a hand hygiene program to keep your employees healthy provides your employees with a better quality of life, better work environment, and increased profits to your company.


Flash Fire Associated with the Use of Alcohol-Based Antiseptic Agent
Click to read the letter - American Journal of Infection Control June 2002 Letter to Editor – California Healthcare Foundation - Health care costs Summary - American Society for Microbiology hand washing campaign - Soap & Detergent Association programs and resources