In the context of COVID-19, it has become clear that handwashing is a first line of defence for mitigating the potential impacts of COVID-19 in the workplace. Workplaces are often where large numbers of people congregate in close quarters therefore handwashing with soap plays a critical role in combination with other key behaviours (mask wearing, physical distancing) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This protocol does not provide new information but consolidates simple recommendations for best practice around handwashing and hygiene in the workplace. It is recommended that this protocol is included in existing standards, certifications and frameworks forming part of mandatory workplace compliance.
Access to improved water, sanitation and handwashing facilities offers opportunity to use those facilities but these must go together with a robust behaviour change programme to ensure sustained use and for lasting change such as improved health. Hygiene behaviour is crucial but one of the most difficult things to change without robust programming. The following elements (based upon ILO guidance) outline the minimum hand hygiene elements that should be in place for the workplace and should be integrated into existing standards and certification.