Influence of an incentive program on handwashing practices and handwashing prevalence among university foodservice workers
Witten, Melissa Lea
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The purpose of this study was to determine handwashing practices and prevalence of university food service workers and assess what changes in practices and prevalence of handwashing occurred with the use of an incentive program. University foodservice workers (N=43) completed a questionnaire rating perceived level of importance of handwashing after foodservice activities. Significant as~ociations were shown for workers' level of education (P = 0.005), years of foodservice work experience (P=0.005 and P=0.002), work experience (P = 0.02), and employment status (P = 0.03). Two researchers observed and documented handwashing practices and prevalence of university foodservice workers (N=55) for 4-hour periods during normal working hours. Mean observed handwashing times for week 1, week 2 and week 4 were 20. 6, 25.0, and 18.9 seconds respectively. Although foodservice workers mean handwashing time decreased from week 1 to week 4, handwashing frequency increased. At week 2 of the study, a handwashing incentive program using ECOLAB® newly designed Digitizer™ soap dispens~r was implemented .. The handwashing system used four colordot groups and maintained a tabulation ofhandwashing frequencies for each color group. Over the 21 day incentive program period, university foodservice employees worked a total of3,920 hours. The Digitizer™ system recorded 4,975 handwashing tabulations for a mean of 1.27 handwashes per hour, considerable lower than observed practices.