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What the Experts Say: Key Facts

Workplaces with groups of people working closely together represent one of the principle opportunities for the transmitting of infectious diseases, such as influenza viruses.

The common cold and influenza costs employers on average around 1.0% of their total annual wage budget, through lost productivity and absence from work. Some scientists estimate that up to 80% of all infections are transmitted by hands (CDC, 2008).

  • 21 separate studies from around the world show that good hand hygiene practices can reduce illness, absence and associated cost on an average by around 40%. (Copies held by Deb Group)
  • Sick people who go to work [‘presenteeism’] cost employers on average up to 2-3% of their total annual wage budget in terms of lost productivity.
  • Among international infection control experts, hand hygiene is considered to be the single most effective means of preventing the spread of infection. The U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has consistently stated that “Hand hygiene is the single most effective means of preventing the spread of infection”.
  • While flu viruses generally do not survive well on hands and surfaces, public health authorities agree that both hands and surfaces can play a significant role in their transmission.