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Rentokil Initial, a global leader in hygiene services, has launched a new system to improve hand hygiene compliance together with findings from the largest-ever analysis of handwashing habits, which discovered that just 38 percent of men and 60 percent of women washed their hands after using the restroom.
The findings were compiled as part of an extensive trial across Europe and the UK of a new advanced sensing system in washrooms, designed to raise hand hygiene compliance. The ground-breaking new product, Initial HygieneConnect, delivered an increase in handwashing compliance of up to 50 percent.
Sensors on washroom doors and handwash dispensers monitor washroom and handwash usage. The aggregated, anonymous data is then reported back to workers in real-time via LCD hygiene compliance monitors. Seeing the data changes behavior. This informal ‘nudge’ and increased peer pressure helps drive up hand washing rates dramatically. Compliance rose to 90 percent within two days of the data being displayed, before stabilising between 80 percent and 85 percent.
Pilots were undertaken across multiple different types of businesses such as education, office and retail facilities as well as other sectors where good hand hygiene is essential. In total, the washroom habits of 100,000 people were analyzed.
Initial HygieneConnect launches today in the Netherlands, and will soon be available across Europe. The service is available to any organization, but demand is expected to be highest in the food, health and education sectors and among large employers of office workers wanting to reduce absenteeism among employees due to infectious diseases (such as colds and flu).
"Good hand hygiene is essential in some industries, such as food processing, but it also helps stop the spread of disease in everyday life. One day every washroom will have some sort of monitoring system to give us that nudge to wash our hands," says Stewart Power, marketing and innovation director at Rentokil Initial. "This is the first system that provides anonymous data back to washroom users and we have seen that it changes behaviour and genuinely reduces the risk of cross contamination."
The HygieneConnect system requires no wiring in the washroom and can be installed with the minimum of disruptions. It can even be retrofitted to many types of soap dispensers.