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Hand Washing for Food Handlers

Hand Washing for Food Handlers

Hand washing for food handlers is an essential aspect of cleanliness and hygiene. When it comes to food hazards, food handlers are potentially one of the biggest risks in terms of food safety. However, to extend this, hand washing is not important only in a food preparing environment, but in a domestic one as well.


Hand Washing at Home

According to a research by BMC Public Health, Denmark tops the ranking when hand hygiene of consumers is looked into. According to a study Hand hygiene practices during meal preparation—a ranking among ten European countries, the ranking is as follows: Denmark, Greece, Norway, Romania, Hungary, Germany, UK, Portugal, France, and Spain. However, the overall conclusion of the study was that the hand washing is often done incorrectly by skipping areas of hand when washing, or washing one’s hands not long enough. Unfortunately, this is also true when handling risky food such as raw chicken. According to the study, the young families and pregnant women are most likely to neglect a proper hand washing technique. On the other hand, the elderly individuals generally do not wash their hands when required.


Hand Washing for Food Handlers – Why is it Important

Most likely, the single most important activity in the food preparation area is proper hand washing. Hands are used for everything – scratching your nose, touching your phone, keys, emptying bins, handling cash, and finally touching the food that is being prepared. It is incredibly easy to cross-contaminate food just by using unwashed hands.

Food workers have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that they do not contaminate food. One of the characteristics of a good food worker is a positive attitude towards hygiene and a willingness to help maintain a high standard at the workplace. Hand washing is at the top of hygiene importance.

Food hygiene legislation places a legal responsibility on food workers, proprietors and visitors to maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness.

Keep the body clean – Food workers should wash or shower daily to remove the layers of dirt, dead skin, sweat and bacteria that build up on the body which can be passed onto food.

The law requires that:

Want to learn more? Explore eLearn Safety fully online Food Safety (HACCP) Level 1 course.


When to Wash Hands

Hands can never be washed too often, but they can be washed not often enough. This is especially important when hand washing for food handlers is in question. Always aim to wash your hands:

The main point to take is – Wash Your Hands regularly!


Hand Washing for Food Handlers – How To Steps

Hands must be washed at a wash hand basin supplied with running hot and cold water. Liquid bacterial soap and an approved means of hand drying should be used. The hands, front and back and the gap between the thumb and forefinger must be washed using a rubbing action. It is not satisfactory to run fingers under the tap and then to dry hands on uniforms.

To learn more watch the below video prepared by titled How to wash your hands properly.


Hand Washing for Food Handlers – Why Does it Matter?

Hand washing for food handlers is extremely important as correct hand washing will remove bacteria such as E. Coli and salmonella. Bacteria on the hands have an ideal environment, They have food, moisture and a temperature of around 37°C allowing speedy reproduction and a higher risk of infection. This is why hands must be kept meticulously clean at all times.


Online Food Safety Training

Please remember – it is a legal requirement that staff who are involved in a food environment are trained and/or supervised commensurate with their work activity!

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Food Safety (HACCP) courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email

Workplace Accidents and Their Prevention

Workplace accidents and their prevention are key priorities of anyone at work – employers and employees alike. Prevention of workplace accidents helps organisations prevent injuries and ill-health at work, damage to property, lost of productivity. In addition, workplace accident may cause significant legal issues. whilst accidents are usually regarded as unplanned and uncontrolled events, this is often not the case,. The truth is that many accidents can be avoided. An accident is an incident that may cause:


Main Factors That Cause Accidents in the Workplace

Each workplace has certain hazards associated with its operation. Being aware of these hazards and the control of associated risks is essential for accident prevention. You can find out about workplace hazards in our Workplace Hazards blog entry form 24 February 2023.

There are three factors that can cause problems in the workplace:


Investigation of Workplace Accidents and Their Prevention process

It is vital that all managing staff creates a positive attitude to health and safety matters and to make sure all members of the team take health and safety seriously. Everyone in the workplace must follow safe working procedures and must report safety issues and defects.

Employers need to be made aware of occurrences so they can be prevented from happening again. All accidents, including near misses and all incidents and ill-health must be reported. This is so these events could be investigated and corrective action  taken. This is however not to ‘punish’ anyone involved, but to prevent the accident happening again and to learn from it. Employees have a legal duty to report occurrences to their employer.

Accidents and incidents can be reported in the form of of an Accident Book, which should contain, for example, the following information:


Accident and Dangerous Occurrence Reporting

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2016 all employers and self-employed persons are legally obliged to report the injury of an employee as a result of an accident while at work. Injuries must be reported if an employee is unable to carry out their normal work for more than three consecutive days, excluding the day of the accident.


How to Report an Injury

The injury at the workplace can be reported:


Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities (2020–2021)

The number of fatal incidents for 2020 was reported as 54. There were 38 work-related fatal incidents in 2021.

In 2021, 8,279 non-fatal injuries were reported to the Authority, an increase of 8% from the 7,652 reported in 2020. This may be due in part to revived economic activity in 2021 following the partial relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. Of the 8,279 non-fatal injuries reported in 2021, 97% related to workers. The highest number was reported in the NACE economic sector of Human Health and Social Work Activities, which accounted for over 22% of all incidents. For non-worker incidents, the highest number was reported in Wholesale and Retail Trade (118) representing 46% of all non-worker injuries.

Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities (2020–2021) – Full Report.


Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email

Are there Food Safety Requirements for a Childcare Provider?

The Environmental Health Association of Ireland (EHAI) recommends that where a childcare service provides food to children, relevant staff are required to have food safety training.

The childcare provider needs to have a HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) Food Safety System in place.


Your food safety management system allows you to identify and control any hazards that could pose a danger to the preparation of safe food. It helps you to:



According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), If you are responsible for developing and maintaining your business’s HACCP based procedures then you must undertake adequate training in the application of HACCP principles.


HACCP training is a requirement


What Level of Food Safety Training Do Our Staff Need?


Food Safety HACCP Level 1

The Food Safety (HACCP) Level 1 course is ideal for those with no previous experience, with light food handling duties and/or performing low-risk duties (such as waiters, baristas, caregivers, kitchen porters, deli shop assistants, etc.). 


Food Safety HACCP Level 2

This is the recommended level for all food handlers, or those working in a kitchen setting, who do not have management responsibility for HACCP.


Food Safety HACCP Level 3

Food Safety HACCP Level 3 defines food safety skills for management and is aimed specifically towards Catering Managers, Supervisors, Executive and Head Chefs within the Hospitality Industry, Industrial and Institutional Catering Units, along with the Health Sector, Retail Sector and Delis.There should be at least one food worker with Food Safety HACCP Level 3 on duty in a food premises. 


Managers, Owners, need to be able to manage HACCP systems. They should also have a good understanding of how to implement a HACCP Programme for their workplace. All food businesses are required by law to have a food safety management system in place based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point).


What Can Myelearnsafety Do for You?

Contact Myelearnsafety, HACCP Food Safety Training Consultants can be contacted for free HACCP Food Safety Advice and Guidance.


Telephone the office @ 01 278 1938 – As for Shane or Cormac