Germs in the workplace

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: May 5th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When is a lawyer squeaky clean? According to a survey of office-based jobs, it just might be when he’s sitting at his desk.

University of Arizona microbiologists found that attorneys have the least amount of germs in their workspace.

The scientists tested desks, phones and computers for bacteria in workers’ offices, sampling a total of more than six-hundred surfaces.

People who work closely with money and children were found to have offices hosting the most bacteria.

Surfaces regularly used by teachers, accountants and bankers harbored nearly two to twenty times more bacteria per square inch than surfaces used by other professions.

Teachers, accountants and bankers make up the top three professions with the germiest working environments … followed by radio Dee-Jays, doctors, television producers, consultants, publicists and lawyers.

Office employees may eat lunch at their desks or snack while they tick off their to-do list. The practice may kill time, but it can grow bacteria.

The report found that the average number of bacteria per square inch of teachers’ workspace surfaces was nearly eighteen-thousand, compared with nine-hundred for lawyers.

Bacteria tended to lurk in four key spots… on phones, desks, computer keyboards and computer “mice.” The report didn’t specify which types of bacteria were found.

But it seems people in even the germiest offices have been cleaning up their act. Researchers found lower bacteria levels than they had in previous year’s studies, proving even office-workers can start over with a clean slate.