Viral illnesses such as gastroenteritis and the common cold create a substantial burden in the workplace due to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and increased health care costs. Behaviors in the workplace contribute to the spread of human viruses via direct contact between hands, contaminated surfaces, and the mouth, eyes, and/or nose.
A study by author Dr. Kelly Reynolds, associate professor and environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and colleagues assessed whether implementation of the Healthy Workplace Project (HWP), which involved providing hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, facial tissues, and use instructions, would reduce viral loads in an office setting of approximately 80 employees after seeding fomites and the hands of volunteer participants with an MS-2 phage tracer. The study was published in the Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health.
The HWP significantly reduced viable phage detected on participants’ hands, communal fomites, and personal fomites (p ≤ .010) in office environments and presents a cost-effective method for reducing the health and economic burden associated with viral illnesses in the workplace.
The healthy workplace project: Reduced viral exposure in an office setting
Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health