CDC 20-second handwashing poster.

To determine their extent of knowledge, survey participants were asked about proper handwashing procedures. While only 84% knew that handwashing should take at least 20 seconds (Figure 7), this closely corresponds with the total percentage of respondents (83%) in roles (food safety, quality control/assurance, plant managers and sanitarians) most likely to be responsible for training and working with employees on hygiene (Figure 2, page 2).

That training is being conducted, as 93% of respondents said their employees are trained on handwashing, with the highest numbers being trained upon hire (89%), through signs at handwashing sinks (85%) and during regular food safety training (75%) (Figure 8). With the exception of signage, training is infrequently conducted as the majority (52%) repeated handwashing training only annually (Figure 9). However, 53% supervise handwashing (Figure 10), so further training could be conducted at that time, if needed.

There has been a continually repeated emphasis on 20-second handwashing as a preventive measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. This, too, is an area in which we are likely to see a focus retained well into the “new normal” of the post-pandemic era. ?