80% of all infectious diseases are spread by touch. That’s right. See that main that your sous chef is plating? That wine glass your waitron is placing next to your VIP patron? The difference between healthy patrons and ones that fall ill lies in their hands – literally.

Alarmingly, hand washing hygiene practices aren’t regulated in South Africa. This is understandable – attempting to police whether every single employee in an eatery or medical facility has scrubbed up in the last half an hour isn’t feasible. If you want to ensure that your staff and customers aren’t at the risk of disease, it’s best that you employ non-negotiable hand hygiene protocols.

Optimal hand hygiene relies on an ongoing effort to educate and implement.

While it’s safe to say that your kitchen staff, chefs and waitrons are aware of the importance of regular hand-washing, it’s likely that they’re not following hand hygiene best practice. Whether this is due to the fact that they’re too busy bussing tables and preparing food, or the fact that they’ve merely become complacent, it’s your job to enforce best practice.

While you may think you sound like a broken record, regular reminders about hand washing are crucial.

You may be familiar with signs that are displayed in fast food joints and public eateries. They usually read along the lines of ‘Have you washed your hands?’ or ‘Wash your hands every 30 minutes’. It’s not for no reason that these signs are so prominently displayed. Regularly reminding staff – whether verbally or by way of a sign – to stop and wash their hands is the only way to guarantee that everyone in your employ is following health and safety best practice.

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The best way to ensure that your restaurant is a hygienic environment is with a ‘toolbox talk’.

This is essentially a briefing before you open for business – a time where staff gather to go through the day’s agenda. By including reminders about hygiene, such as the hand washing and the wearing of hair nets, best hygiene practice will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.  Remember that your restaurant’s standards of hygiene are reliant on your guidance and management. While you have a myriad of other tasks that need seeing to, reminding staff about optimal hand hygiene should be a priority. The more ‘hands on’ you are about hygiene practices in general, the better.

It’s your responsibility to make sure that your hand washing stations are in working order.

If the soap dispenser is faulty or empty, staff will be unable to comply with hand hygiene best practice. The onus falls on you to ensure that all sanitary equipment is in working order, and is regularly serviced by a reputable cleaning services provider. It’s highly recommended that you outsource not only the cleaning and maintenance of your hand washing stations and bathrooms to an expert cleaning company, but that they’re able to conduct on-site staff training too. In the case of hand hygiene, education is paramount.

If you’d like to contact The Specialists about our cleaning services – which include on-site training in health and safety best practice for restaurant, hospital and corporate staff, contact our head office, or email us here.