Dirty Hands, Dirty Water

Imagine this scenario: Your 5-gallon water jug in the office breakroom is empty. You wait for someone to change it but everyone else is waiting, too.

Finally, you direct Dave the intern to pluck the empty bottle from its perch, leaving the reservoir open to the world and everything in it as he goes down to your overcrowded storage room and crawls over piles of empty jugs in search of a full one.

With one hand on the new bottle’s neck, Dave the intern grabs the jug, lumbers back over to the breakroom and hurls the new bottle’s neck down inside the open reservoir.

It’s not until you really think about what just happened that you get grossed out by it – that whatever was on Dave the intern’s hands is now living in your water reservoir.

Why Hands are a Roiling Germy Mess

While washing your hands is a smart idea … particularly if you have touched raw meat or touched something a coworker just handled and they have the sniffles … there are a set of myths surrounding hand washing with antibacterial soap that need to have some light cast upon them.

 Commonly Held Beliefs About Antibacterial Soap – And Why They May Be Wrong

 Washing your hands is a good practice especially when working in an office with others. And that is never more important than during cold and flu season in the winter.

The problem with these beliefs is that many have come to rely solely on antibacterial soaps or even hand sanitizers to be the sole guardian of good health. There’s no question that washing your hands is good protection against disease.

But an antibacterial soap isn’t a critical part of the equation as you may have been led to believe.[1] Plain soap and warm water and lathering your hands thoroughly up to the wrist works every bit as well.

Also, the skin on your hands is your best line of defense not the soap so obsessive hand washing will just result in red, cracked hands not the world’s cleanest tools.[2]

A study done at the University of Colorado showed that there are over 300,000 distinct bacteria on a human hand and that the specific species that live on anyone’s hand is vastly different.[3]

Back to Dave, the Intern

So now you may be re-thinking sending Dave down to the storage area to fetch the bottle of water. But Dave isn’t the only one who could potentially handle a 5 gallon bottle for the break room.

And it isn’t just Dave’s hands, either. It’s the risk of an open water system.

It is extremely susceptible to airborne contaminants such as germs, bacteria, dust, and algae spores. Over time, these impurities grow and multiply inside the reservoir, creating a slimy biofilm on your water cooler’s walls. This is downright dangerous for your employees and a real liability to your business. And yet, when was the last time you had the inside of your water cooler cleaned?

The Solution

Dump your office open water system altogether and purify your water with a bottleless water cooler.

References:

[1] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/25/myths-about-hand-hygiene.aspx

[2] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/25/myths-about-hand-hygiene.aspx

[3] https://www.reference.com/science/many-germs-human-hand-858c756526dea2b8#