National center for infection control professionals, healthcare experts, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and consumers focused on best practices in hand hygiene and hand sanitizer products

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Industrial Safety * Hygiene News: Pandemic Report: Endorses Benzalkonium Chloride for Hand Sanitizing

Pandemic Protection
by Matthew Marc Henry
September 9, 2009

This article presents information about pandemic diseases (and more specifically H1N1) spreading throughout your place of business. Here are 15 simple points gathered from the nation’s leading sources on pandemic preparedness:

1 — Cover your cough – If you have to cough, show some manners, and consideration for the health of others… You may already be ill and not know it. Think about others, too. Are your co-workers coughing? Have them cover their mouths. If you want to be really safe, prepare your workplace with masks. Many do not understand the difference in masks, but it is really quite simple: N95 and other “rated” and form fitting masks are to protect the well from inhaling airborne pathogens. Procedural masks (like what a surgeon wears) are for the ill, to help them cover their mouths and noses to avoid expelling pathogens towards the Well. You can find both at any quality first aid supplier. (Avoid new “miracle masks” claiming unheard of protection and germ-killing properties… If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.)

2 — Wash your hands frequently – Cooties! Think about all the things you touch every day. Think about how many others touch them and breathe on them. Are they ill? Now… think about how often you touch your face. Try counting for 5-10 minutes… you would be surprised. Wash your hands. Hot soap and water are great. Hand sanitizers are handy when hot water is not available. Other great options are benzalkonium chloride (BZK) wipes — those nice clean towellettes — that are so handy to have around. Benzalkonium chloride solutions are rapidly acting biocidal agents with a moderately long duration of action. They are active against bacteria and some viruses, fungi, and protozoa.4 You can pick these up from your favorite first aid product company for about 3¢ each… usually in boxes of 100. Pass them around to co-workers, stash them in your pocket, wallet, purse, glove box, lunch box, briefcase, wherever.  

Matthew Marc Henry
Matthew is a managing safety consultant for Express Companies, Inc. (dba com/ He is a former EMT and has served on several Cal/OSHA Advisory Committees and the Associated General Contractors Safety Committee.  

1 comment:

Lilia said...

I hate thinking that all of my first aid training would go to waste based on people getting sick from not washing their hands. Gross! Thanks for spreading awareness about how important this step is.