Disinfection in the Leisure industry
The leisure industry is a significant part of the UK economy, comprising gyms, hotels, spas, pools, sports facilities, restaurants, travel and tourism. It also includes outdoor events, open farms and fairgrounds.
Encompassing such a broad range of enterprises, it is no wonder that the UK leisure sector was worth around £117 billion before Covid-19.
Since the pandemic and successive lockdowns, the sector has struggled, but will be hoping to bounce back as the economy gradually reopens.
But part of this bounce-back will depend on the leisure industry committing to tough cleaning and disinfection methods.
Why is Hygiene Important in the Leisure Industry?
The same reasons why hygiene is important in the leisure industry to ensure customer satisfaction also apply for health reasons.
Just as it matters that facilities appear clean, so it is vital that they really are clean, and that their surfaces cannot transmit infections.
For example, the surfaces of gym equipment can be teeming with bacteria. Research has shown that a piece of gym equipment can carry more germs than a toilet seat.
As part of keeping equipment clean, it is important that staff and guests have easy access to hand sanitiser and hand-washing facilities. Part of keeping leisure facilities clean is making these things readily accessible and encouraging their use.
The same approach applies to showers and changing areas. These areas can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria. The wet, warm conditions of showers and changing areas are a perfect bacterial environment if not cleaned and disinfected regularly.
People touch common areas, and if they are not washing their hands regularly, they can spread infections and diseases this way.
For an industry that has suffered so acutely under the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that it maintains its hygiene standards to support its recovery and build public confidence in its facilities.
UK Active launched its Fit Together campaign in October 2020. In its detailed guidance for leisure facilities reopening after lockdown, it instructed its members to ensure rigorous cleaning and disinfection regimes throughout their facilities.
It’s important to note how closely cleaning and disinfection work together:
- Disinfection only works effectively if you clean a surface thoroughly beforehand
- But cleaning is not enough on its own to kill bacteria.
While sanitising will reduce bacteria and germs, disinfecting will remove them.
What Are the Risks of Poor Hygiene?
HSE points out that public safety is a key issue when it comes to the leisure industry.
Under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers must ensure that the public do not come to harm from risks arising from their business activities.
Broadly then, the risks of poor hygiene in the leisure industry are twofold:
- Health risks to the public and staff
- Risks to the businesses involved, including fines and legal action, and reputational risk.
And whereas Covid-19 has highlighted one set of risks, there are others, such as legionella in spa-pool systems.
Many sports and leisure facilities have heavy seasonal usage, and therefore there are prolonged periods of inactivity. This will also be the case during various restrictions and lockdowns during the pandemic.
These periods of low water usage can increase the risk of legionella and other bacterial growth.
Disinfection in the leisure industry needs to go beyond cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, however diligent this is.
Effective water treatment is essential too, to manage risks associated with legionella and other bacteria.
A legionella outbreak at a spa in Bournemouth in 2019 hospitalised nine people.
The legionella bacteria can cause Pontiac fever, which is an illness similar in seriousness to flue, but it can also cause legionnaire’s disease, which can be fatal if it is not treated.
How Oxyl-Pro Can Assist as a Disinfectant
Oxyl-Pro is a multi-purpose disinfectant, based on stabilised hydrogen peroxide. However, unlike other hydrogen peroxide disinfectants it uses food-safe ingredients for stabilisation, rather than silver.
This means it simply degrades to oxygen and water, making it safe and easy to dispose of.
It has applications as a hand and surface disinfectant, air disinfectant and also in water treatment. This makes it perfect for the leisure industry.
You can use Oxyl-Pro to disinfect areas where there is a high amount of physical contact, such as gym equipment, hand rails, door handles, work surfaces, tables, chairs and bar areas. Oxyl-Pro will also disinfect shower and changing room areas to an extremely high standard.
As a water treatment, it will prevent the build-up of biofilm in pipework and tanks, and will quickly kill legionella bacteria.
Post-Covid, disinfection is bound up with the recovery of the leisure industry in general, and it is central in preventing a range of bacteria and infections in leisure facilities in general.