Ben Woodhead Deputy editor - digital

Ben Woodhead is deputy editor - digital at the Financial Review Group. He writes on business, technology, politics and the economy and can be found on BRW, The Australian Financial Review and Smart Investor.

View more articles from Ben Woodhead

Six things in your office you don’t want to touch

Published 01 June 2012 07:32, Updated 04 June 2012 05:04

+font -font print
Six things in your office you don’t want to touch

Watch where you eat ... Office kitchens are riddled with surfaces that can provide a good home to bacteria and other nasties.

Germaphobes beware, work places are filled with surfaces that make clean freaks cringe and some are more surprising than you might think.

For starters, if you think door handles are the grossest surface around, you’d be wrong, at least according to a Kimberly-Clark Professional study that tested nearly 5000 surfaces in office blocks that had about 3000 employees.

The health products maker, which is using the study to tout the benefits of contract cleaners, measured levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – a molecule that indicates just how friendly a breeding ground for bacteria or viruses a surface may be.

The surfaces most commonly found to have ATP counts of 300 or more, indicating a high risk for spreading illness, were:

1. Tap handles (75 per cent)

2. Microwave door handles (48 per cent)

3. Keyboards (27 per cent)

4. Refrigerator door handes (26 per cent)

5. Water fountain buttons (23 per cent)

6. Vending machine buttons (21 per cent)

“The bottom line? Office workers are potentially being exposed to illness-causing bacteria right in their own lunchrooms, as well as elsewhere around the office,” Kimberly-Clark says.