Make Hands Matter in the Workplace



On 31st December 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. A ‘novel’ coronavirus was identified as the virus in question on 7th January.

Coronaviruses are ‘enveloped viruses’ that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Usually, coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing.
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
  • Rarely, faecal contamination.

There are currently no vaccines against coronavirus infection, however WHO have released some standard recommendations for the general public. The following is recommended with the aim of reducing exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses, including coronavirus, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rubs or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
  • When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

No disinfectant efficacy test is currently available for coronavirus, and therefore no SCJ Professional products have been tested against this strain.

However, the EU Biocidal Product Regulation states that:

  • For effective disinfection against enveloped viruses, products that have been tested and proven to have “virucidal activity against enveloped viruses” or “Limited Virucidal” properties i.e. effective against all enveloped viruses and limited number of non-enveloped viruses, or finally “Fully Virucidal” properties i.e. effective against all enveloped and non-enveloped viruses in accordance with EN14476:2015: A quantitative suspension test for the evaluation of virucidal activity in the medical area, should be used.
  • Coronaviridae family viruses are listed as examples of enveloped viruses within the EN14476:2015 standard (and appendix 5 of Guidance on the Biocidal Products Regulation Volume II Efficacy - Assessment and Evaluation (Parts B+C)).

SC Johnson Professional recommends customers use products that have been independently tested and shown to meet the above requirements for “virucidal activity against enveloped viruses,” “limited virucidal” or “fully virucidal”.

We recommend however that all hand soaps and hand rubs should be used as part of a hand hygiene protocol to help stop the transmission of viruses within a comprehensive, multifaceted infection prevention programme.

Complementing the use of the above products, good hand hygiene also includes proper hand washing technique with water and soap. To help achieve a good hand washing technique, we have created guidelines available here, including videos, posters and infographics.

Learn more about the coronavirus outbreak at the WHO website:

To see SC Johnson Professional hand wash and sanitiser options visit our website