Complete Guide to Hand Hygiene

April 29, 2019

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In any health-care or food setting, effective hand hygiene together with disposable glove use is the most important activity for preventing the spread of infection or contamination.

The human skin is a rich environment for microbes, consisting of around 1,000 species (Grice et al. 2009). The skin surface of human hands contains up to 10 million microorganisms (Price 1938), most of which are resident species.

The glove, therefore, acts as a protective barrier between pathogens on the hands of glove wearers and the surfaces in contact. If the glove rips then those microbes, or indeed viruses and bacteria, will transfer to contact surfaces. Glove punctures are usually undetected as they are microscopic and are dependant on the quality of the gloves.

Therefore to prevent the transfer of pathogens to the contact surfaces, effective hand hygiene together with a quality disposable glove is required.


The potential dangers of bad hand hygiene practises are obvious; an increased infection risk from the unavoidable close contact between staff, patients or food items.

The main reasons given as to why hand hygiene practices are not performed include:

  • lack of time and/
  • or training, forgetfulness and lack of awareness
  • Products/facilities

It is considered vital that all staff members are fully compliant in the process of hand hygiene practices. To avoid increased risks, hand hygiene practices must become consistent, comprehensive, repeated frequently and become second nature.

Using hand hygiene products, hands must be cleaned or disinfected frequently - especially at the following stages for both health & food industries:

  • Before and after each session
  • Before and after the removal of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
  • Following the washing of contaminated instruments or utensils
  • Before contact with instruments or utensils that have been steam-sterilised (whether or not these instruments are wrapped)

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends health-care workers to use the My 5 moments of Hand Hygiene to clean & disinfect their hands while The Food Standards of Australia & New Zealand states that the Food Handler should clean and disinfect their hands at specific times.


Since a lot of infections are spread by contact, washing your hands & then using an alcohol-based hand rub before touching another person is one of the best ways to help stop the spread of these infections. Hand disinfection procedure can also be carried out in any location without the need for water and washbasins.

It is vitally important to clean/rub every area of the hand including the finger nails and wrists. See below for useful guide (cleaning requires you to rinse the product from the hands and dry with a clean towel):

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Once these steps have been completed, the appropriate gloves and PPE should then be worn for any procedure or activity associated with a risk of contamination. When gloves are required for procedures, they should:

  • Fit properly for your hand size, not too tight & not too loose.
  • Fingernails should be kept short and clean.
  • Refrain from wearing nail polish, nail jewellery, artificial nails, and jewellery on the hands or arms.
  • A new pair of gloves for each session.
  • Replace gloves as soon as possible if they become soiled or damaged, do not wash gloves as this may damage glove integrity.
  • For general procedures, wear non-sterile examination gloves that comply with AS/NZS 4011; or, when a sterile field is required, wear sterile gloves that comply with AS/NZS 4179.

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  • Dye free liquid hand soap
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  • Rapid-acting high-level hand disinfection gel that allows hygienic hand disinfection in seconds
  • No sticky residue on hands or gloves
  • Assists with preserving the epidermis of the skin

Contact our experts to answer all your questions about improving your Hand Hygiene procedures through the correct use of hygiene products, disposable gloves and clothing.

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Tags: Hand Hygiene