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Programs Hand Hygiene

Hand Hygiene - Clean Hands Save Lives

Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are a significant and growing problem in our health care system. Improving hand hygiene among health care workers is the single most effective intervention to reduce the risk of HAIs in Australia.

The CEC is leading the implementation of the National Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI) in NSW. The program is based on the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene of the World Health Organization. Implementation of the NHHI has seen hand hygiene performance in NSW improve continuously and significantly.

Hand Hygiene - 5 Moments

Program Overview

The Hand Hygiene program is one of a number of initiatives of the Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) program. It enables NSW local health districts and networks to improve infection control behaviour and implement consistent infection control processes and surveillance.

Hand Hygiene (HH) performed by clinicians is known to be the single, most effective intervention to reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections in the healthcare system.

There remain many challenges in further improving clinicians' hand hygiene performance.

Hand Hygiene Policy

The specific hand hygiene practices required to minimise the risk of patients, visitors and staff acquiring a HAI are outlined in the NSW Health Hand Hygiene Policy - link.

The Hand Hygiene Policy requires Health Services to:

  • Have alcohol-based hand rubs and hand washing facilities available to all staff, patients and visitors
  • Establish, maintain and review a hand hygiene awareness program for all staff
  • Monitor hand hygiene audits and act on the results.

Hand hygiene is defined as performing appropriate hand hygiene as per the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene, which are:

  1. Before touching a patient
  2. Before a procedure
  3. After a procedure or body fluid exposure risk
  4. After touching a patient
  5. After touching a patient's surroundings.


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Hand Washing A5 flyer cutoff 2up - PDF ~1.3MB

Hand Washing A5 flyer laminated 2up - PDF ~1.3MB

Wash Your Hands A4 icon poster - PDF ~1.3MB

Hand Washing A5 brochure cutoff
- PDF ~1.0MB
Hand Washing A5 brochure laminated - PDF ~1.0MB Instructions for printing flyers & posters
- PDF ~57Kb
CEC Clean in Clean out poster CEC Lead the way poster  

CEC Clean in Clean out poster - PDF ~347Kb

CEC Lead the way poster - PDF ~243Kb


Help Us Beat Infections - link

Useful Links


Fact sheets - for patients and visitors

"Patients and Visitors: What you need to know about hand hygiene" available in:


Please direct your queries and correspondence to:

Project Officer Hand Hygiene
Clinical Excellence Commission
Locked Bag 8
Haymarket NSW 1240

Phone: (02) 9269 5500   Fax: (02) 9269 5599