Work with food? Are you washing your hands enough?

If you work with food, in a restaurant kitchen, a local sandwich shop or a catering company, it is very important that you follow basic hygiene rules. Ideally, you will undergo a series of food hygiene training courses, to make sure you know everything you need to know in order to protect public health and adhere to food safety regulations.

However, one of the basics that all food workers need to know is when and how to wash their hands. You should be washing your hands:

  • Before handling food
  • After handling food
  • After handling uncooked meat, eggs, seafood or poultry
  • After eating your own lunch
  • After smoking a cigarette
  • After going to the toilet
  • After taking out the bins
  • After treating a cut or a wound
  • After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
  • After touching or having any contact with an animal

How to wash your hands

In order to adhere to the laws surrounding food safety, your employer should provide you with adequate hand-washing facilities. These facilities should have hot water and be well-stocked with anti-bacterial hand soap. To wash your hands thoroughly, you should:

  1. Wet your hands
  2. Apply soap and rub your hands together to make a lather
  3. Scrub the front and back of your hands for at least 20 seconds, making sure to get between your fingers and under your nails
  4. Rinse your hands under running water
  5. Dry using a clean paper towel or a hand dryer