Handwashing for Life

Overcoming Underwashing

Risk Assessment - Don't skip the most important of the five steps!

The Circles of Success Workshop

“Foodborne outbreaks cost us in credibility and cash. Let’s reset.”

This executive call to action moved Handwashing For Life to develop a cross-functional framework for the self-assessment of the risk ascribed to compromised hand hygiene in foodservice and hospitality. The Circles of Success workshop is designed for executives, those with a depth of experience but in divergent disciplines, to collaboratively agree their current risk and chart a course of continuous improvement.


Restaurants, particularly multi-facility operators, can reduce their corporate risk of an outbreak and lower staff absenteeism by increasing their ability to preemptively talk about the #1 unresolved risk, poor hand hygiene. These discussions and assessments must become a regular component of critical strategic planning as well as operational budgets down to the unit level. Without measured standards there is a void in the lexicon of this risk. The Circles of Success is a working tool to help establish numerics by identifying an operation’s Handwashing Risk Credit Score.

Poor hand hygiene continues leading the CDC's list of factors contributing to foodborne illness. The management of the #1 risk warrants specific assessment, agreed standards and a periodic reporting mechanism. Of particular interest is the monitoring of trends to catch the “near misses” rather than waiting for the crash.

The target-looking cover graphic summarizes a scoring system modeled after the financial community’s way of assessing the risk in lending money. Neither our program nor the financial one represents true science. Both are interpretations based on history. Both yield actionable numbers. The overall circle graphic is comprised of five segments seen here as pie slices. Each “wedge” or slice represents a stage of the problem-solving process we call the HandsOn System, designed to analyze and implement needed enhancements to the hand hygiene process.

Drilling down on each section, you now see six bands of risk levels from Very Safe at the core to an outer ring of OUTBREAK Waiting to Happen. An identifying trait accompanies each level along with something you might casually hear in unguarded informal situations - something a voice of experience might say when operating in this band.

A 3-7 member team of assessors is recommended. It should preferably start at headquarters and include the c-suite leaders of Operations, Food Safety and Risk Management. They will be collaboratively rating their operation in each of the five slices, representing the five steps to gain process control of handwashing.

What level are we operating at for each of the 5 steps of the HandsOn process? Each participant will place a removable dot in the circle of choice, ready to defend his or her selection. Discussion commences in search of understanding, common ground and agreement to a single operational circle and the refinement by assigning a single number.

This is repeated for the five steps and the points added up and divided by 5 to yield your operation's Handwashing Risk Credit Score.

Until an operation measures and monitors handwashing beyond observation, the likelihood of consistently meeting the safe Circle of Success is low. Many good foodservice operations register a risk score of 580 - 679, a range indicating either “Dangerous” or that “Safety Is Threatened.” It is common for us to find handwashing rates at less than 50% of the desired standard. That is the principal driver of low scores and higher risk.

Successfully implemented handwash monitoring, splicing electronic technology with existing observation techniques, is the gate to the core Circle of Success.

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Posters for Workshop Participation:


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Check the list of best practice indicators to help estimate current risk and set up a prioritized path for continuous improvement.

Good hand hygiene is critical to any and all foodservice operations. If you are satisfied with your hand hygiene standards and handwashing compliance, keep up the good work and please share with us your system.

Most operators are less than happy with their hand hygiene compliance and concerned that staff hands, especially at busy times, are less than ServeReady, presenting an unnecessary level of risk.

ServeReady Risk Assessment Outbreak ROI Form

HandsOn™ System

HandsOn System

5 steps to convert underwashing to under control. Set and track your risk-based ServeReady® Hands and TouchReady® Surface standards.

SaniTwice® for Catered Events

SaniTwice for Catered Events

Uncompromised hand cleanliness for those serving food at venues without running water.

Teaching Videos

Teaching Videos

Globally recognized for their ease of use in any language. Available in DVD and MP4 file download.

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