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Your Office Refrigerator – The Starting Line for Many Sick Days

March 22, 2022
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Your Office Refrigerator – The Starting Line for Many Sick Days

As office workers are now returning, at least temporarily, to their offices an old problem has reared its ugly head; i.e. the office refrigerator. At LACOSTA, we fight a never-ending battle in the workplace against microbes, bacteria,  virus and fungus. The office refrigerator has long been a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. But now, a new study has shown that it can also be a prime cause of absenteeism – in fact the #1 cause.  Researchers at the University of Arizona found that the office refrigerator is often the source of food poisoning, and a variety of illnesses leading to employees taking sick days. They recommend that all offices have separate refrigerators for food and drinks, in order to reduce the risk of illness.

Studies have shown that the average office refrigerator harbors more than 400 different types of bacteria! And it’s not just the fridge itself that’s to blame – any surface in or around the fridge can be a hotbed for illness-causing germs. Recently, there has been an increase in absenteeism rates across North America, and many experts believe that this is due to the spread of disease from office refrigerators. If you want to keep your employees healthy and productive, it’s important to take steps to disinfect your refrigerator regularly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are five key practices that you can follow to help keep your office refrigerator clean and safe:

  1. Keep food sealed in airtight containers. Keep drinks sealed and in a separate cooler.
  2. Each item, including leftovers, placed in the refrigerator needs to have the owner’s name and date of placement in the fridge on it.
  3. Have a weekly monitor assigned to discard any expired food items or neglected lunch bags at the end of the work week. This is especially important with employees returning with partial or irregular hours.
  4. Wipe down the interior surfaces every week with a household disinfectant using a microfiber fiber cloth.
  5. Vacuum the coils at least twice a year so the refrigerator maintains a safe, food preserving temperature.

Here is to a happy, healthy office refrigerator fending off those non-productive sick days.   

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