In Australia, there are different hygiene requirements for businesses. These requirements depend on several factors, but the type of business and the general level of interaction with the public are two of the main factors that influence the health and safety steps that the business must take. In addition to the general rules, there are COVID-19 precautions. These precautions may vary from state to state and are not covered in general Safe Work Australia guidelines. Therefore, to ensure that your business is in compliance with national, state, territory and local requirements you should also familiarise yourself with the applicable laws.

Basics of Hygiene Requirements

Generally speaking, handwashing remains the cornerstone of a hygienic workplace. Every person in a business should be regularly washing their hands with soap and running water, for 20 seconds or longer, and then drying them with a clean, single-use paper towel. Hand washing should occur after visiting the toilet, before and after eating, after coughing or sneezing, or after touching a potentially contaminated surface. When handwashing is not possible, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is a good substitute.

One easy way that offices can increase hygiene in the workplace and help reduce their own costs is to go to a paperless office, whenever possible. This reduces the number of surfaces that can potentially harbour disease. If signatures are required, make sure that employees are supplied with their own pens and regularly disinfect pens that might be shared by customers or clients.

A clean washroom is another key to workplace hygiene. You need to have sufficient accessible facilities for employees, customers, clients, and other visitors to be able to use the toilet and to wash and dry their hands. Washrooms should be adequately stocked with toilet paper, soap, water, and paper towels. It is important to have sufficient washrooms to handle your entire business force, and these numbers are likely to fluctuate as more businesses open to full capacity after the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, you may want to consider overstocking hygiene supplies in anticipation of any increases in businesses.

Finally, you may want to consider adding handwashing facilities to other locations, as well, such as near employee break rooms. One of the biggest predictors of whether people will wash and dry their hands at appropriate times is whether doing so is both convenient and quick. Sometimes people who would normally be hand washers will skip the process if it means waiting in line to use a sink. Ensuring you have sufficient handwashing stations can help discourage those bad habits.

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