Hygiene Concept

Find out how to draw up a hygiene plan for your company and implement the measures set out in it efficiently and consistently.

What is a Hygiene Concept?

Employers are responsible for safe working conditions in the company - this also includes hygiene. A concept of hygiene helps them to implement occupational safety measures in the company correctly, comprehensively and thoroughly. In this context, a hygiene concept is often referred to as a hygiene plan which is of equal importance.

In such a plan or concept, procedures for maintaining and guaranteeing certain hygiene standards are set out in writing in order to prevent or limit the spread of infections. The concept og hygiene therefore primarily serves the infection control.

While hygiene protection is a matter for the boss, the employer can appoint a hygiene officer to take care of all matters, such as the implementation of infection control measures or the preparation of a hygiene concept. The hygiene concept includes the written documentation of the measures carried out as well as cleaning and disinfection plans and a skin protection plan.

Employers and hygiene officers can find concrete specifications on general hygiene in the Workplace Ordinance and the Technical Rules for Workplaces (ASR).

Aim of a hygiene concept

The hygiene concept aims to instruct employees to ensure the required hygiene status in a defined area by implementing the measures listed, and thus prevent the spread of germs.

Therefore, the hygienic requirements of the different areas must first be determined. The required hygiene status is the starting point for the creation of a hygiene concept. Each factor influencing the hygiene status must be evaluated individually. With the help of the cleaning and disinfection procedures specified in the hygiene concept, the respective influencing factor is then controlled.

This article deals with the following topics:

1. This is why companies need a hygiene concept

2. Formal requirements to draw up a hygiene concept

3. Carry out hygiene inspection

4. Introduce systematic cleaning and disinfection

5. Hygiene concept always keep up to date

That is why companies need a hygiene concept

In every company there are areas with a particular risk of infection. These include break rooms, changing rooms, kitchens and sanitary facilities. Individual sectors also have an increased risk of infection for employees, business partners and customers due to their activities. Here, additional measures are required to ensure hygienic and safe working conditions.

In the Infection Protection Act (IfSG) (§ 36), the legislator therefore requires mandatory hygiene concepts for health care facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and doctors' practices, but also other community facilities such as kindergartens and prisons. Besides, health care facilities such as outpatient care, dialysis, blood donation and delivery facilities, medical foot care as well as rescue and transport services are also affected.

In many countries, institutions and companies are also monitored by the health authorities where the execution of work can lead to the transmission of pathogens via the blood, e.g. piercing, tattoo, cosmetic and foot care facilities. Hygiene concepts are usually also drawn up for sports facilities.

In general, it has been recommended up to now that even larger companies draw up a hygiene concept. The worldwide outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has completely changed the situation. In order to be able to reopen after the lockdown, almost every company and facility now has a hygiene concept to protect employees, customers and business partners from the spread of the coronavirus.

Formal specifications for the hygiene concept

The good news: There are no formal specifications for the hygiene concept. How the hygiene concept is designed in detail is up to each company. It is important that all areas in the facility with increased hygiene requirements are taken into account. Besides, the measures laid down must be suitable for creating a hygienically impeccable condition.

With a thoroughly elaborated hygiene concept, which is updated at least annually, companies can prove their duty of care towards their employees to the legislator. In addition to the measures to be implemented, the hygiene concept should include cleaning and disinfection plan and a skin protection plan. The hygiene officer and company management may only make changes. It is best to manage the hygiene concept electronically to facilitate work. This also makes it easier to trace when the last change was made and, in the best case, by which person.

The latest version of the hygiene concept should be accessible and read by every employee. The best way is to confirm that they have read it formally. To ensure that everyone correctly implements all measures in the hygiene concept, the hygiene concept should be formulated clearly and understandably. The cleaning and disinfection concept should also be posted at the hygiene-relevant places where the activities are carried out.

Basic for the hygiene concept the hygiene walkthrough

An inspection of the facility is the best way to determine the actual condition, which is the basis for determining the necessary measures in the hygiene concept. Employers make it easier for them to ensure hygiene at work if they appoint a hygiene team (depending on the size of the company) to carry out and record the inspection. Besides, these employees can draw up the hygiene concept, check it regularly and update it if necessary, as well as carry out hygiene training courses for the staff.

The inspection is best started in the outdoor area. The construction and equipment (e.g. damage to the building) and the so-called environmental hygiene (condition of floors, walls and ceilings) are considered. In damp rooms, attention should be paid to mould growth and the condition of hand basins and fittings. The inspection can also include advice and suggestions from employees and cleaning staff, visitors and relatives (e.g. in hospitals and nursing homes) and parents (e.g. in day-care centres and schools). All observations and critical points are recorded in an inspection protocol. This later serves as the basis for the hygiene concept. At the same time, it enables defects to be eliminated quickly.

Systematic cleaning and disinfection

The hygiene concept is only of use if it is implemented. That is why planning also includes regulating the responsibilities for all areas. The employees who are responsible and the measures to be carried out are recorded in the hygiene concept.

The cleaning of surfaces and objects must be organized. The hygiene concept specifies who has to clean which surfaces and objects how often and with which method. The disinfection of surfaces and objects is usually only necessary if they are contaminated by infectious substances (blood, faeces, viruses).

update hygiene concept regularly

Legal changes often mean that a standard hygiene concept must be updated. However, changes in the company or the detergents and disinfectants used can also result in changes. For this reason, the hygiene concept must be regularly reviewed to ensure that it is up-to-date.

The topicality check is made easier with a questionnaire tailored to the institution. The following questions could be included:

  • Is all the necessary information available?
  • Are the details contained in the hygiene concept adapted to this?
  • Do all processes run as described in the hygiene concept?
  • Are the procedures described in sufficient detail?
  • Are new or different products being used?
  • Are all dosing details and reaction times correct?
  • Have other restructuring measures been carried out?
  • Do previous areas disappear or new ones are added?
  • Have responsibilities changed?
  • Is occupational safety guaranteed everywhere?
  • Is the risk assessment up to date?

The more precise and detailed the questions are written, the easier it is to identify points to be changed. This list of questions contains basic examples that can be used in almost every company. It can be expanded to include further individual aspects.

Hygiene concept Checklists

Checklists help hygiene officers to create, implement and check the hygiene concept. Try out the advantages of digital and mobile checklists for your company and make your work easier.

Featured templates

Hygiene Concept Medical Office

Hygiene Concept Medical Office

Use this checklist template to check whether your hygiene concept covers all hygiene-related topics. See template

COVID-19 | Protection and Hygiene Concept

COVID-19 | Protection and Hygiene Concept

Adapt your existing protection and hygiene concept to the new occupational safety strategy SARS-CoV-2 with this template. See template

Warehouse Hygiene

Warehouse Hygiene

Use this template to record problems, H&S problems, housekeeping requirements and process queries. See template