COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person can acquire the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.   

A key way you can protect workers and others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is by requiring workers and others to practice good hygiene. Below are measures to ensure good hygiene in your workplace.  

Remember, you must consult with workers and health and safety representatives on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19, including what control measures to put in place in your workplace.  

Worker hygiene

You must direct your workers, customer and others in the workplace to practice good hygiene while at the workplace. Good hygiene requires everyone to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them completely, preferably with clean, single-use paper towels. If paper towels are unavailable, other methods such as electric hand dryers can be used, however, hands will still need to be dried completely.

Workers must wash and dry their hands: 

  • before and after eating 
  • after coughing or sneezing 
  • after going to the toilet, and  
  • when changing tasks and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.  

An alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the active ingredient must be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions when it is not possible to wash hands. 

Good hygiene also requires workers to, at all times: 

  • cover their coughs and sneezes with their elbow or a clean tissue (and no spitting) 
  • avoid touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth 
  • dispose of tissues and cigarette butts hygienically, e.g. in closed bins 
  • wash and dry their hands completely before and after smoking a cigarette  
  • clean and disinfect shared equipment and plant after use 
  • wash body, hair (including facial hair) and clothes thoroughly every day 
  • have no intentional physical contact, for example, shaking hands and patting backs, where possible
  • limit contact with surfaces in the client's home, where possible

To enhance good hygiene outcomes:  

  • develop infection control policies in consultation with your workers. These policies should outline measures in place to prevent the spread of infectious diseases at the workplace. Communicate these policies to workers
  • use electronic paperwork where possible
  • encourage contactless payment where possible
  • train workers on the importance of washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying them correctly or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, before entering and exiting a common area 
  • inform workers of workplace hygiene standards that are expected when utilising common areas (cleaning up after yourself, placing rubbish in bins provided, avoiding putting items such as phones on meal surfaces, etc.)
  • inform clients/residents about your service, how you are managing risks and steps they can take to manage risks while you are providing the in-home service.

You should put processes in place to regularly monitor and review the implementation of hygiene measures to ensure they are being followed and remain effective.  

Residents in the home should be encouraged to practice good hygiene whilst your worker is in their home. We have prepared phone and email scripts that can be used to discuss hygiene measures when you perform work in someone’s home. 

Why are paper towels preferred over hand dryers?

Paper towels are preferable as they can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by drying the hands more thoroughly than hand dryers. 

Hand dryers can still be used, however, there is an increased risk of transmission if hands are not dried properly. 

I am providing paper towels in my workplace. What else should I do?

Providing paper towels to dry your hands after washing them is better than using hand dryers because they can dry your hands more thoroughly. 
If you provide single used paper towels at your workplace, remember:

  • the paper towels should be replenished as required, and
  • used paper towels should be disposed of in a waste bin that is regularly emptied to keep the area clean, tidy and safe.

Wastes (including used paper towels) should be double bagged and set aside in a safe place for at least 72 hours before disposal into general waste facilities. For further information regarding cleaning, please refer to our cleaning guide. 

What if I can’t provide paper towels?

If paper towels cannot be provided, then hand dryers may be used to dry hands. You must train workers on how to dry their hands. Placing posters near hand dryers may assist with communicating the need for hands to be dried completely. If hands are not dried completely, good hygiene will not be achieved, and the hand washing will be ineffective.

Frequently touched areas of the hand dryers (i.e. buttons to activate the drying mechanism of the hand dryer) and the entire body of the dryer should be cleaned regularly. Nearby surfaces (such as the sink and taps) should also be cleaned regularly to remove any germs that may have been spread when drying hands. 

COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person can acquire the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.   

A key way you can protect workers and others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is by requiring workers and others to practice good hygiene. Below are measures to ensure good hygiene in your workplace.  

Remember, you must consult with workers and health and safety representatives on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19, including what control measures to put in place in your workplace.  

Worker hygiene

You must direct your workers, customer and others in the workplace to practice good hygiene while at the workplace. Good hygiene requires everyone to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them completely, preferably with clean, single-use paper towels. If paper towels are unavailable, other methods such as electric hand dryers can be used, however, hands will still need to be dried completely.

Workers must wash and dry their hands: 

  • before and after eating 
  • after coughing or sneezing 
  • after going to the toilet, and  
  • when changing tasks and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.  

An alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the active ingredient must be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions when it is not possible to wash hands. 

Good hygiene also requires workers to, at all times: 

  • cover their coughs and sneezes with their elbow or a clean tissue (and no spitting) 
  • avoid touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth 
  • dispose of tissues and cigarette butts hygienically, e.g. in closed bins 
  • wash and dry their hands completely before and after smoking a cigarette  
  • clean and disinfect shared equipment and plant after use 
  • wash body, hair (including facial hair) and clothes thoroughly every day 
  • have no intentional physical contact, for example, shaking hands and patting backs, where possible
  • limit contact with surfaces in the client's home, where possible

To enhance good hygiene outcomes:  

  • develop infection control policies in consultation with your workers. These policies should outline measures in place to prevent the spread of infectious diseases at the workplace. Communicate these policies to workers
  • use electronic paperwork where possible
  • encourage contactless payment where possible
  • train workers on the importance of washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying them correctly or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, before entering and exiting a common area 
  • inform workers of workplace hygiene standards that are expected when utilising common areas (cleaning up after yourself, placing rubbish in bins provided, avoiding putting items such as phones on meal surfaces, etc.)
  • inform clients/residents about your service, how you are managing risks and steps they can take to manage risks while you are providing the in-home service.

You should put processes in place to regularly monitor and review the implementation of hygiene measures to ensure they are being followed and remain effective.  

Residents in the home should be encouraged to practice good hygiene whilst your worker is in their home. We have prepared phone and email scripts that can be used to discuss hygiene measures when you perform work in someone’s home. 

Why are paper towels preferred over hand dryers?

Paper towels are preferable as they can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by drying the hands more thoroughly than hand dryers. 

Hand dryers can still be used, however, there is an increased risk of transmission if hands are not dried properly. 

I am providing paper towels in my workplace. What else should I do?

Providing paper towels to dry your hands after washing them is better than using hand dryers because they can dry your hands more thoroughly. 
If you provide single used paper towels at your workplace, remember:

  • the paper towels should be replenished as required, and
  • used paper towels should be disposed of in a waste bin that is regularly emptied to keep the area clean, tidy and safe.

Wastes (including used paper towels) should be double bagged and set aside in a safe place for at least 72 hours before disposal into general waste facilities. For further information regarding cleaning, please refer to our cleaning guide. 

What if I can’t provide paper towels?

If paper towels cannot be provided, then hand dryers may be used to dry hands. You must train workers on how to dry their hands. Placing posters near hand dryers may assist with communicating the need for hands to be dried completely. If hands are not dried completely, good hygiene will not be achieved, and the hand washing will be ineffective.

Frequently touched areas of the hand dryers (i.e. buttons to activate the drying mechanism of the hand dryer) and the entire body of the dryer should be cleaned regularly. Nearby surfaces (such as the sink and taps) should also be cleaned regularly to remove any germs that may have been spread when drying hands. 

COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person can acquire the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.   

A key way you can protect yourself, any colleagues and clients from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is by practising good hygiene.  

Good hygiene requires washing your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying them with clean paper towel. You must wash and dry your hands: 

  • before and after eating 
  • after coughing or sneezing 
  • after going to the toilet, and  
  • when changing tasks and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.  

An alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the active ingredient must be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions when it is not possible to wash hands. 

Good hygiene also requires you to, at all times: 

  • cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a clean tissue (and no spitting) 
  • avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth 
  • dispose of tissues and cigarette butts hygienically, e.g. in closed bins 
  • wash and dry your hands completely before and after smoking a cigarette  
  • clean and disinfect shared equipment and plant after use 
  • wash body, hair (including facial hair) and clothes thoroughly every day 
  • have no intentional physical contact, for example, shaking hands and patting backs. 

Residents in the home should be encouraged to practice good hygiene whilst you and any colleagues are in their home. We have prepared phone and email scripts that can be used to discuss hygiene measures when you perform work in someone’s home. 

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