Flu season is now underway in Canada and generally lasts till March. As a result, sick days and lost productivity put a damper on business, or worse. Last flu season, Canada recorded 5365 hospitalizations and 270 deaths, while the season before that exceeded any previous influenza season, with a considerable number of hospitalizations, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Workplaces are culprits for influenza, but employees are usually uneducated on what office areas harbour the most germs. Coverall North America, franchisor of commercial cleaning businesses, recently recorded such findings through a survey it conducted, asking men and women in the U.S. who have worked, or currently work, in an office setting what surface or common area contains the most infectious germs.
More than 50 per cent of these office workers think computer keyboards hide the most germs, but the handles on the kitchen sink are actually the main culprit, says Coverall, and three out of four sink handles contain a high germ count. According to Coverall, others include:
- Restrooms: One toilet seat has 3,200 germs per square inch.
- Telephones: Phones carry 10 times more germs than a toilet seat.
- Light switches: High counts of fecal bacteria has been found on these features.
- Microwave handles: 48 per cent of handles tested had high germ counts.
- Water fountains: Spigots can have up to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch.
- Door handles are also a high risk area.
- Refrigerator door handles: 26 per cent of handles located in break rooms have high germ counts.
The company says it has designed the Coverall Program to offer high-quality service to combat germs in the workplace.
“Our Franchisees’ service packages and techniques go beyond the standard dusting and vacuuming,” says Rick Ascolese, president and chief executive officer of Coverall North America. “The Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System Program uses proprietary processes that are designed to tackle contagious germs that can be found throughout the workplace – even the kitchen sink handles.”