Wash Your Hands, Please
By Al McClain
You can’t force people to wash their hands, but there are many times we’d all like to. There are some things we’d all be better off not seeing, such as the (lack of) good hygiene practices in men’s rooms at professional sporting events. (Seems to be some correlation between beer consumption and lack of hand washing?)
At retail, it’s clear that employees need to wash their hands, especially those involved in food handling, preparation, and serving. But, besides those ubiquitous “Employees must wash hands before leaving restroom” signs, what can really be done?
At the FMI show this week in Chicago, eMerge Interactive showcased its VerifEYE HandScan Hygiene System (www.verifeye.net). It is a wall-mounted system, about the size of a hand dryer, that checks an employee’s hands for contamination after they have washed. The employee puts their hands under the scanner and the system tells them whether it detects any residual contaminants that require further washing.
What it would presumably enable retailers to do is check the hands of food handlers to make sure their hands have been washed in a proper manner. The need for better hand washing is obvious and, while the benefits of this system are “soft,” they could be significant if retailers are able to prevent the spread of food-borne illness.
From an employee morale point of view, it’s an open question. Having a supervisor watch as employees scan their hands seems onerous, but perhaps necessary in some cases. And, perhaps workers will be more diligent as they see what’s actually on their hands.
Moderator’s Comment: With current hand-washing compliance rates across food-related industries estimated to be below
50% (yuk), the need for a better system is obvious. Can retailers seize the hygienic high ground and perhaps even a competitive advantage by being among the first to adopt something
like this? –
Al McClain – Moderator