According to the results of a new study, the office kitchen is probably a lot dirtier than the restroom. The study, which took 280 samples from 70 kitchen appliances in eight different offices, revealed that half of all surfaces in workplace kitchens are contaminated with high levels of coliforms — a bacteria present in fecal matter.
The swab results revealed that 75 percent of all kitchen surfaces contain more bacteria than the average feminine sanitary bin.
So which kitchen surfaces were the biggest offenders?
- Chopping boards: A quarter of chopping boards tested were found to have four times the safe level of coliforms.
- Fridge handles: A third of fridge handles were carrying high levels of coloiforms.
- Microwaves: Thirty percent of shared microwaves were shown to be contaminated around the handles and buttons.
Initial Washroom Hygiene, who carried out the study, had this to say about the results: “Shared office kitchens can be very busy areas with a heavy footfall, making this space a potential hazard for cross-contamination when good hygiene practices and hand washing aren’t encouraged.
“As workers prepare their lunches on the kitchen surfaces, it’s vital to ensure these surfaces are sanitized on a regular basis and that, as a minimum, towel dispensers, soap, and hand or surface sanitizers are available to mitigate the risks.
Other Contaminated Surfaces in Your Office
Shared kitchens aren’t the only offenders. Researchers at the University of Arizona have also confirmed that office telephones, desktops, table tops, door handles and photocopiers are hotspots for harmful bacteria.
Fortunately simple interventions like regular hand washing with foaming hand soap and water — can drastically reduce the risk of employees’ contracting harmful infections. Thorough cleanings with disinfectant are also necessary to eliminate dangerous pathogens that might be lurking around the office.