Keeping your hands clean on your farm

Hand washing is very important when working on a farm or ranch. While it sounds too easy, hand washing is one of the easiest and best ways to protect your animals, yourself, and those on your farm from disease-causing organisms. Stations should be set up around the premises, so employees and visitors can wash their hands. If you don’t have a sink with running water available on your farm, see the resources section below or visit How to build a handwashing station to learn how to build a handwashing station. 

Tips for good handwashing 

Be sure to wash your hands when entering the farm, working on the farm, and before leaving.  

When at the hand washing station, wash your hands and forearms with warm water. Then add at least 3-5 mls of soap, about the size of an olive. Lather up the soap and vigorously scrub all over your hands. Make sure to clean under rings, fingernails, on both sides of your hands, and above your wrists. Continue scrubbing for about 30 seconds. 

Singing the birthday song twice can help you make sure you’re scrubbing for long enough! 

 Then, rinse your hands under warm water until all the soap residue is gone. Turning off the water with a paper towel and not your clean bare hands is important! Once the water is off, you can dry your hands with a paper towel or hot air dryer.  

Although hand sanitizers can reduce the number of germs on your hands, they do not compare to washing your hands! They do not kill some viruses and/or bacterial spores.  

Hand sanitizers especially don’t work well when your hands are visibly greasy or dirty. If you use hand sanitizers to reduce germs, make sure they contain more than 60% alcohol. Even if you wear gloves, your hands must still be washed!  

These instructions apply to all types of farms! Keeping these standards for everybody entering and leaving your farm or ranch is important.  

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