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High bacterial count after handwashing


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#1 Jackson Tsang

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 03:21 AM

Hi all,

 

I encountered a problem need to solve and would like to see the experts here can give me some brainstorming ideas.

 

I have taken some swab samples on TPC on my staff aftering handwashing and the results were not good (some TNTC noted).

 

My staffs washed the hands with soap and water, and then apply some sanitizing gel. The operation team asked me if there be any chance that their hands will be contaminated by the sanitizting gel. I do not have the information about the sanitizing gel on hand but it seems not much sense to me.

 

Anyone experience similar before?

 

Thanks.

Jackson



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:42 AM

Hi all,

 

I encountered a problem need to solve and would like to see the experts here can give me some brainstorming ideas.

 

(a) I have taken some swab samples on TPC on my staff aftering handwashing and the results were not good (some TNTC noted).

 

(b) My staffs washed the hands with soap and water, and then apply some sanitizing gel. The operation team asked me if there be any chance that their hands will be contaminated by the sanitizting gel. I do not have the information about the sanitizing gel on hand but it seems not much sense to me.

 

Anyone experience similar before?

 

Thanks.

Jackson

 

Dear Jackson Tsang,

 

A few thoughts -

 

(a) (i) it depends on what you numerically mean by TNTC, eg  > X cfu/cm2 where X = ????

      (ii) the number may relate to what yr processs/product/staff are/are doing ?

 

(b) Yr staff have a logical comment IMO. it is suggested not to use sanitizing gel unless you know (A) what is inside it, (B) that it is approved for the current application. In addition to hands, It may also contaminate the product of course.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Mike Green

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 01:43 PM

I'm not a big fan of  sanitising gel in general- it may be chemically contaminating their hands (but unlikely to be adversely influencing your micro results)

 

Some (obvious) thoughts about the high micro results

 

Poor Handwashing technique 

Poor quality soap/cold water

Poor swabbing/ sampling/plating technique

re-contamination of hands after washing ( taps, surfaces etc)

 

 

Regards

Mike


I may sound like a complete idiot...but actually there are a couple of bits missing

#4 vladislavdanchev

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 08:47 PM

Had the same problem not long ago. Shop around and change both, the sanitizer and the soap.

Make sure the staff are using hot water to wash their hands though.

Hope that helped.



#5 AS NUR

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 12:45 AM

 did you allow a few minutes before take the sample|? IMO the result posibly caused by the gel not work optimum yet, you have to allow the gel active for a few minute and after that you can took the sample.

 

Rgds

 

AS Nur



#6 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 12:02 PM

Also did you try the handwashing by itself to see if it is the sanitizer?  It's best if you are having an issue when your employees are using both to try to isolate if one or the other is causing the problem.  Make sure they are washing their hands appropriately (wet hands, wash hands for 20+ seconds, rinse fully, dry).


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#7 Conny T

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 06:14 PM

We have had this problem where more swabs from 2 employees exceeded our specifications. We have the rule that after 2 analysis over spec the employee has a refresher in washing hands monitored by our lab tech - after this a new swab is taken.

If this analysis also exceeding spec we take a closer look at the hands of the employee. These two have had so dry hands (of all the handwashing). After helping them finding a handcreme to use at home (we have one to use at work) - after a time the problem was solved as the hands were not as dry anymore. 

 

Or (as earlier mentioned) the hands was just washed and the sample has been taken as the hands were wet - this ends out in high counts.

 

And finally regarding washing hands in warm water - our experience is that this will increase employees with dry hands and may give problems with excema. We use cold to lukewarm water.



#8 Snookie

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 06:59 PM

And finally regarding washing hands in warm water - our experience is that this will increase employees with dry hands and may give problems with excema. We use cold to lukewarm water.

 

I would agree.  Have seen many studies where the temp of the water had no impact on bacterial counts.  Warm water may be helpful if you are talking about needing to remove lipids or other like substances.


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#9 fgjuadi

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 07:13 PM

I think Mike hit the list of everything to look at -

 

Sanitizer is a chemical hazard, you're looking for the root cause of a  micro hazard.. Sanitizer  does dry the skin which can create a lot of "skin flora" .  TPC doesn't really tell you what is on there, so it might not be pathogenic. 

 

Water Temp - Cold to luke warm is probably too cold . - I think the group ended up at around 100- 105 deg F last time, but there are a lots of these threads - http://www.ifsqn.com...r-temperatures/   .

 

Technique - Look at time and also procedure.  You can get glo-germ or other fake germs, rub them on their hands, then look at them on UV light - the spots that still have fake germs are the ones they're not washing very well.

 

Swabbing - Or maybe it's time to retrain QA on their swabbing techniques :hypocrite:


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#10 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 09:20 PM

 

 

Water Temp - Cold to luke warm is probably too cold . - I think the group ended up at around 100- 105 deg F last time, but there are a lots of these threads - http://www.ifsqn.com...r-temperatures/   .

 

 

 

I remember actually seeing on the CDC's website that they recommend hand washing being done with cold to lukewarm water because if it's too hot, perceived by the employees, they won't wash their hands properly and because hot water can cause skin irritation and other such things.


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#11 RG3

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 09:42 PM

First off, Mr. Incognito, awesome Profile pic of The Walking Dead. 

 

Why would you swab for TPC? You'll never get <10 on hands.

 

Why not swab for something more relevant like coliform/E.coli or staph.?

 

Make sure they're using soap and not just sanitizer (some people think sanitizer does the trick all on its own).

 

You need to physically see how people are washing their hands i.e. between fingers, both sides of their hands, are they drying then using sanitizer, are they using a contaminated paper towel and then getting their hands swabbed instead of letting the sanitizer air dry?

 

You need to physically see how your QC or QA are swabbing the hands (as mentioned above). Aseptic?

 

A good technique is to swab before washing hands and after washing hands to validate the method or maybe in your case your soap or sanitizer. I agree

 

Do a challenge study. Swab hands before washing, after washing with soap, then again after sanitizer with a few people to get some data.



#12 Charles.C

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 09:49 PM

Dear Jackson Tsang,

 

Gloves are another possibility, especially if the hands you refer to are handling RTE products. Not an excuse for inadequately washed hands though.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#13 Jackson Tsang

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 11:04 PM

Many thanks mate. I will work with my team on the issue.



#14 mamad123

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 12:48 AM

hi,

 

there are several possibilities ,

1. contamination came from your water , did u conduct microbial test on your water?

2.contamination came from your sanitizing gel,

3. time and concentration are essential,

4. or the bacterial count before handwashing was high causing handwahing method uneffective



#15 Jim E.

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 11:08 PM

Been a month have you seen your result change?  We do not actually check the results of staff hand washing but auditors have routinely observed others going into facility and have been satisfied.






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