Hand washing

hand washing

Washing your hands is one of the simplest, yet most effective, things you can do to protect your health and the health of others.

Farmers come in contact with many potential sources of disease and illness including dirt, farm animals, domestic pets, farm chemicals, fertilisers, pesticides, medications, solvents and soil. Farmers and farm workers can also pass contaminants on to others through produce contaminated by bacteria or viruses due to poor hand washing.

Wash hands with soap for at least 10 seconds, under running water after contact with animals, before putting your hands near your face (to eat or smoke, for example), before preparing food, or after using the toilet.

Wash your hands regularly, especially before you eat.  If you are out on the farm keep some alcohol wash handy.

Even if you have been wearing gloves to protect your hands while working with chemicals or livestock, wash your hands after you remove them.

The few minutes you spend hand washing throughout the day could prevent an illness that could keep you (or others) out of action for days, weeks, or even longer – and who’s going to run the farm then?

References used for this topic page

More information:

Centers for Disease Control (US)
Wash Your Hands

Occupational Dermatology
Skin Care in the Workplace

The Nemours Foundation (US)
Hand washing

Research & reviews:

Cochrane Collaboration
Hand washing for preventing diarrhoea

Fast facts:

Hand washing

  • Hand washing is an important way to prevent the spread of disease and reduce the risk of illness.
  • Contact with dirt, farm animals, pets, medications, chemicals and fertilisers can all present potential risks.

Last updated: 18th November, 2016