The Economics of Hand Sanitising

The economics of hand sanitisation

Whatever system you are using to provide hand sanitisation facilities for your employees, visitors or customers, it is likely that this is now an additional, ongoing cost to your business that you hadn’t incurred pre-pandemic.

The material costs involved are primarily the mechanisms used to dispense and volumes of sanitiser liquid. For many medium to large businesses, particularly retailers, this can become quite a considerable sum. When figuring out whether the economics make sense, there are a number of factors to consider, the first being the potential cost of NOT providing hand sanitisation. 

As we have seen in a number of industry sectors, sporadic coronavirus outbreaks can rip through a building causing a devastating impact on operations and in some cases complete closure. As referenced in our previous blog, the food processing industry has been hit particularly hard in this respect. Mandatory hand sanitisation in these environments would have considerably reduced the risk of infection and such financial calamity. 

As employee well-being continues to climb the corporate agenda, there are other positives to be gained by mandatory hand cleansing for the health of both individuals and the company finances.  A study carried out by plant propagators iGrowing Ltd, who have been using access controlled, anti-viral hand sanitisation systems for its glasshouses for nearly a decade, has revealed some interesting statistics. Way before we even heard the word ‘COVID’, their research found that by installing hand sanitisation stations integrated with their entry turnstiles, absences relating to illness amongst its employees working in the glasshouses reduced from 2.2% annually, to just 0.5%. This simple investment ensured that nobody was able to enter the glasshouses unless their hands were thoroughly cleansed to the same high standard.

This is clearly an approach that can be translated across many other sectors beyond horticulture. A typical business of 100 employees, based on the UK average salary of £36,600, could make a financial saving in reduced absences of an astonishing £60,400 per annum, up to 40 times their initial investment. *

Whichever hand sanitisation system is chosen, the quality of the dispenser is significant element to consider.  A dosing unit that dispenses just the right amount of sanitiser to cleanse the hands adequately will ensure a cost-efficient system. Jet systems rather than pump dispensers are generally the most efficient way of distributing sanitiser liquid effectively across the hands. Over the past months, many of us will have experienced inadequate and wasteful dispensers that overdose the hands with a slick of gel that is hard absorb and often ends up in a messy puddle on the floor. If you have deployed one of these, you may as well pour money directly down the drain!

Hand sanitiser systems that are located in unsupervised public spaces are inevitably vulnerable to theft, so it is important that your system is robust enough to withstand vandalism. Unfortunately, human nature is such that sanitiser gel theft does happen and can incur considerable, unnecessary costs from both damaged equipment and lost sanitiser. In the early days of lock down there were multiple reports of sanitiser liquids being stolen from hospitals with one NHS Trust even having to deploy CCTV to identify perpetrators. 

We are then left with the situation, which appears to be increasingly common particularly in the retail sector, where a member of staff is employed specifically to monitor the sanitisation unit. Whether for security purpose or monitoring for when sanitiser liquid needs replenishing, this again is an additional cost consideration. 

More than six months into the pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that provision of hand sanitisation systems is not going to be a short-term fix. Investment in robust and fully effective systems that will stand the test of time are going to be crucial to mitigating the risk of further outbreaks that can be costly for business and our long-term well-being.

*The Steriloc Hand Sanitisation Systems range from £898 – £2,500 per unit and cost less than 1p per dispense. They are robust, vandal resistant and come with a 12-month guarantee. Apart from the Steriloc Shield, all models can be data enabled for auto-notifications when sanitiser levels are low.