Sanitization Facilities at the Workplace
Authored by - Prachi Aggarwal
Keywords - Workplace, hygienic, productivity, satisfaction, health, prevention .
All workplaces need to be hygienic as well as safe for both the visitors and the employees. As workplace environment has a direct impact on the employee’s health, wellbeing and productivity. In every workplace, industry, firm, associations etc maintaining a clean environment have a huge impact on overall worker's satisfaction.
With the current situation of pandemic hygienic and cleanliness has become a common topic of concern for everyone. According to the CDC i.e. center for disease control and prevention, 80 percent of infection spread through direct and indirect contact at the workplace.
With much at stake, it is important to understand the sanitization requirement for workplaces. Therefore, providing a clean, hygienic and sanitize workplace is a one-way business can make a significant impact on productivity, health and satisfaction of employees.
The most important component of any workplace is its employees. Thankfully, there are ways that business can make a significant positive impact on the health and safety, productivity and satisfaction of employees. One of them is by providing a clean and hygienic workplace, from cubicles to common areas of restroom.
To reap the benefit of a clean workplace should understand the relationship between cleanliness and employee wellness, as well as simple but effective tips for maintaining these environments.
Right to sanitation as a Fundamental Right
The right to sanitation and hygiene is a part of the fundamental right to life. The right to sanitation, like various other rights, is a derivative of the right to life enshrined under Article 21. Although it is not specifically and expressly included in Article 21, it came into being by judicial interpretation of the Article.
The Supreme Court and High Courts have consistently held that the right to sanitation is a part and parcel of Article 21 and the Article encompasses within it the right to sanitation as a right to life can never be achieved in its true meaning and spirit without sanitation and hygiene. The Apex Court in a case holding that the Government had no power to sanction lease of the land vested in the Municipality for being used as open space for public use, observed after referring to the Stockholm Declaration 1972 and Principle 1 laid down in that Conference and after referring to Article 48 A, Article 47 and Article 51 A (g), and Article 21, as follows:
“The word environment is of the broad spectrum which brings within its ambit, hygienic atmosphere and ecological balance. The kit is, therefore, not only the duty of the State but also the duty to every citizen to maintain a hygienic environment. The State, in particular, has a duty in that behalf and to shed its extravagant unbridled sovereign power to forge in its policy to maintain ecological balance and a hygienic environment. Article 21 protects the right to life as a fundamental right. Enjoyment of life and its attainment including their right to life with human dignity encompasses within its ambit, the protection and preservation of the environment, ecological balance free from pollution of air and water, sanitation without which life cannot be enjoyed. Any contra acts or actions would cause environmental pollution. Environmental, ecological, air, water, pollution etc should be regarded as amounting to a violation of Article 21. Therefore, a hygienic environment is an integral facet of right to a healthy life and it would be impossible to live with human dignity without a humane and healthy environment.”
The concept of the right to sanitation includes personal hygiene, home sanitation, clean water, waste disposal, waste management system and so on. Sanitation in terms of human rights would mean a system for the collection, transport, treatment, disposal, or reuse of human excreta and associated hygiene. The human right to sanitation entitles everyone to sanitation services that are safe, socially and culturally acceptable, secure, hygienic, physically accessible and affordable, and that provides privacy and ensures dignity. State to ensure that the benefits of these measures reach everyone without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, race and gender. The right to sanitation being a constitutional right casts a duty upon the government to make policies and schemes to provide facilities to everyone.
Employee Health and Safety
Keeping the work environment sanitize offers numerous benefits related to employee health and safety i.e.
1. Preventing the Spread of Germs and Illness
Workplaces can become a significant source of bacteria and microbes if they are not cleaned regularly. The numbers don’t lie. The average workplace desk can be 100 times dirty than the average kitchen table and toilet seat. Of course, toilet seats and counters need to be kept clean daily. An unsanitized workplace means that everybody is a potential corner of a disease, which can be spread to anyone who comes in contact with the infected person i.e. creating a mini epidemic.
By installing proper sanitization products and practices, harmful bacteria and viruses can be stopped from spreading all over the workplace. It will create a safer and healthier working environment, reducing risk for everyone i.e. clients, employees and others.
This can be done by:
1. Providing sanitary washroom equipped with hand wash stations with soap, sanitizers, clean towel or tissues and anti-bacterial moisturizer.
2. Installing handy sanitizers well-soaked toilet tissue, paper products and supplies in every restroom.'
3. Deep cleaning toilet and urinals to make sure that the germs cannot survive or spread.
4. Educating all employees the importance of keeping every corner of the workplace clean and hygienic.
2. Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Workplace appearance should not be overlooked as the clustered workplace, dirty restrooms and unkempt common area can increase stress and anxiety level among employees. This can have a negative impact on office morale. Provide employees with a clean. Workplace to help them feel more organized and focused.
Improve Productivity in the Workplace
Employees at workplaces may not realize it but dirty environments can be wreaking havoc on employees. Lingering dirt and germs can have a negative impact on their breathing, energy level or skin and can even cause headaches. While they might not look sick but they feel a lack of motivation or initiative due to these unsuspected causes.
By providing disinfectant sprays, cleaning supplies and implementing improved cleaning practices it prevent disease-causing bacteria to germinate on the surface hence improving the bottom line of productivity in the workplace.
Increase Employee Satisfaction
The environment provided to employees has a direct impact on how healthy and happy those employees are. Implementing some of this simple task will improve the employee’s satisfaction i.e.:
1. Regularly cleaning windows, desks etc with disinfectant sprays and decontaminating the surface make it microbe-free.
2. Installation of proper air fresheners and odor control products.
3. Schedule regular deep cleaning of the whole facility at workplaces at least twice a day.
Holding workplaces to a higher standard of hygienic may seem challenging at first but later it ultimately becomes an important part of daily routine. This is because cleanliness and hygienic is more beneficial than just the physical appearance of the working environment.
Thus, a clean and sanitized workplace has a positive impact on employee’s health, mind, productivity and satisfaction.
 Virender Gaur v State of Haryana, (1955) 2 S.C.C. 577.
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