Your Workplace's Break Room May Be Crawling With Germs

Thursday, May 24th 2012, 7:31 am
By: Dave Davis

A new study by Kimberly Clark lists the one location at your work place that has the most germs and it's not the restroom.

The study used thousands of samples from different businesses and the results showed that break rooms have the most germs.

Most break rooms are high-traffic areas, and with more people come the possibility for more germs.

According to the study, the percentage of the office surfaces tested and found to have high levels of contamination includes:

  • 75 percent of break room sink faucet handles
  • 48 percent of microwave door handles
  • 27 percent of keyboards
  • 26 percent of refrigerator door handles
  • 23 percent of water fountain buttons
  • 21 percent of vending machine buttons

Dr. Charles Gerba, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Arizona, who consulted on the study says workers need to be aware.

"People are aware of the risk of germs in the restroom, but areas like break rooms have not received the same degree of attention," said Dr. Gerba. "This study demonstrates that contamination can be spread throughout the workplace when office workers heat up lunch, make coffee or simply type on their keyboards."

Experts say that washing your hands - even after you take food from the fridge in the break room - is the best way to prevent sickness.

Read more about the Kimberly Clark study.