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Overcoming Underwashing
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Top Eleven Physical Handwashing Deterrents

Jim Mann's picture

The will to wash one's hands can be easily sidetracked by any one of these situations. Corrective actions in bold.

11. Faucet handles: Invisibly contaminated. Go touchless!

10. Paper towel dispenser: Invisibly contaminated. Go touchless!

9. Soap dispenser lever: Invisibly contaminated. Go touchless!

8. Handsink blocked or used for temporary storage. Document with a photo. Discuss with Person-In-Charge.

7. Handsink: Visibly soiled. Check cleaning protocol and accountability.

6. Slow drain: waste water splashes. Being used for something other than handwashing? Clean drain.

5. Handsink: too far away from critical work station. Add handsink or change food flow.

4. Harsh, poor rinsing soap. Change to formulated for frequent-use soap.

3. Water too hot or too cold, too slow to adjust. Touchless electronic faucets - safe & time saving.

2. Soap dispenser: Empty. Convert to clearly visually cued.

1. Refillable hand soap dispenser: Scary appearance. Go closed system!

 Who is in charge of the handwash station? Design? Purchasing? Quality Assurance? The Person In Charge(PIC)? The Chef? If it's Operations, who in Operations?


a. Assign the Hand Hygiene Station functionality to a specific person. Include this accountability in their job description. Their role is not to get the staff to wash their hands but to invite use by assuring functionality and cleanliness.

b. Use the above as a periodic checklist to identify and resolve recurring issues. Include a summary in the annual report.

c. Be sure soap, paper and general handsink cleanliness are on your Opening Checklist.

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