Here are some key points.
- Good personal hygiene helps prevent illnesses.
- Wash your hands several times each day, especially if you work in areas where chemicals have been applied.
- Report skin rashes and similar problems to your supervisor.
Why personal hygiene is important
Good personal hygiene, including cleanliness, is important on the job for these reasons:
- It helps keep you from getting sick. Staying clean helps fight disease-causing germs.
- It keeps your co-workers healthy. Bacteria and other germs are easily spread from person to person by personal contact.
- It reduces your chances of winding up with skin problems, such as dermatitis, which can be difficult to treat.
- It makes the work site more pleasant for everyone, including co-workers and visitors.
Keeping your hands clean reduces the chance of skin rashes.
Sometimes workers find out their skin problems were due to a failure to keep their hands clean.
Wash your work clothes before rewearing them to remove dirt, sweat and other residues.
Hand washing is critical
- One of the easiest ways to cut down on illnesses is to wash your hands several times a day.
- Be sure to wash your hands before you eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or tobacco. Also wash your hands before and after using the toilet, working with chemicals, or putting on a bandage.
- Wet your hands under running water. Keep the water running.
- Apply soap, and rub your hands together.
- Work up a good soapy lather, and wash all parts of your hands, including the backs, your wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- Thoroughly rinse off all the soap.
- Dry your hands with a clean paper towel.
- Turn off the water faucet with your used towel. Don’t touch the faucet with your clean hands.
Working with chemicals
- It’s especially important to practice good personal hygiene when you may come into contact with pesticides or other chemicals.
- Pesticides or pesticide residues on plants and crops can result in skin rashes. So can coming into contact with certain plants.
- Sometimes workers find out their skin problems were due to a failure to keep their hands clean.
- If you work in areas where chemicals are applied:
- Always wear the proper PPE.
- Wash your whole body, including your hair, after work each day, using plenty of soap and water.
- Wash your hands and face before you eat, drink, smoke or use the toilet.
- Wash your work clothes separately from your other clothes and separately from the family laundry.
More personal hygiene tips
- Shower each day. Dry yourself thoroughly, including between your fingers and toes.
- Use soap when you shower, and use deodorant each day.
- Wash your work clothes before rewearing them to remove dirt, sweat and other residues. Use either a liquid or powdered laundry detergent. Follow the instructions that come with it on how much to use.
- Wear clean socks to work each day. Cotton socks are best because they “breathe” and absorb moisture.
- If you work in a wet environment, try to change your shoes every other day to give them a good chance to dry out.
- Use our toilet facilities when you need to go to the bathroom. And be sure to keep the facilities clean for your co-workers.
- Take care of problems before they become serious. Tell your supervisor if you develop a skin rash or other problem. Often these can be treated without a visit to the doctor.
Good Personal Hygiene Do’s and Don’ts
- Shower daily. Don’t forget to wash behind your ears and between your toes.
- Keep your hands and face clean, especially if you work in an area where chemicals have been applied.
- Practice good hygiene at home as well as on the job.
- Use your co-workers’ combs, brushes or other personal care items.
- Leave the bathroom unclean for the next person.
- Wash clothes that may have pesticide residues on them with the family laundry.