The average Call Center headset contains millions of bacteria and germs, and companies should be using new technologies to protect the health and wellness of their agents.

Crystel Headset, an innovative South African manufacturing company based in Cape Town, has developed a unique African solution for an international problem.

Many call centres don’t realize that headsets must be maintained on a regular basis to avoid serious and repetitive health and hygiene issues arising in the workplace. A study conducted by the University of Arizona concluded that telephones can be contaminated with more than 25,000 germs per square inch, and that telephones have 500 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. These germs and bacteria can include E. coli, Streptococcus, Salmonella & Staphylococcus aureus, all potentially dangerous and contagious organisms. Headsets and handsets will be a leading source of infection in the Call Center environment unless proper hygiene measures are put in place. A South African manufacturing company has been at the forefront of developing a world first, the integration of Ozone technology into the BPO work-space.

Ozone is one of the most powerful disinfectants available to man, and if applied correctly, it can reduce bacterial, viral and parasitic contamination in headsets and handsets by up to 99%

What is Ozone?

Ozone is the most powerful disinfectant available to man, reducing harmful bacterial, viral and parasitic contamination by up to 99% without the need for hazardous chemicals that require careful disposal after use. Ozone is a naturally occurring inert gas that is found in the earth’s atmosphere. In its natural state, Ozone has a light blue color which becomes colorless at room temperature. It has a similar smell as to that experienced after a thunder storm. As a natural disinfectant, Ozone is more than 3000 times stronger than Chlorine.

How does Ozone work?

Ozone sterilizes by means of oxidization. Ozone is made up of 3 oxygen atoms (O3), unlike the air that we breath which has only 2 oxygen atoms (O2). Ozone is very unstable and rapidly breaks down into an O2 (air) and O1 (Oxygen) atoms. The extra Oxygen atom released during this process attaches itself to available bacteria, germs and other molecules, effectively oxidizing them, breaking them down and neutralizing the host.

How safe is Ozone?

Ozone technology has been used since 1886 as a water and food disinfectant. Ozone poses no threat to the user or the environment within it’s safe levels of use. Ozone also leaves no residue behind, which means that you can use items that have been sterilized immediately after decontamination.

Ozone Health & Hygiene SOP Guidelines:

Call Centre & BPO Contact Centres should establish a set of employee Health, Safety & Hygiene Standard Operating Procedures around the following key points:

  1. All Headsets & Handsets should be Ozone Sterilised on a regular basis. Ideally this should be done monthly as a minimum.
  2. At the onset of Infection. Agents exhibiting symptoms of infections such as flu, colds, coughing, throat infections, ear infections, or any other contagious or infectious diseases – should Ozone Sterilise their equipment daily until their symptoms have passed.
  3. Post Infection. Anyone who has been sick and booked off work with any of the above illnesses should Ozone Sterilise their equipment daily for 3 to 5 days after returning to work in order to avoid re-infection.
  4. Re-Issue of used headsets: High sectoral attrition means that used headsets and handsets are often recirculated. Ozone allows companies to now sanitise these before they are re-issued, saving companies them from having to replace equipment that is still within its warrantee period.
  5. Sharing of headsets: Headsets should not be shared under any circumstances. This is very unhygienic. If headsets are shared they must definitely be Ozone Sterilized between users.
  6. General Cushion Swaps: Depending on wear & tear – all headsets should get their cushions replaced every 6 or 12 months (this can be established by a visual inspection)
  7. Make sure all your headsets and handsets are certified as Ozone Friendly and don’t have any parts or components that might get damaged by ozone.

To get more information about Ozone Sterilizing and assistance in drawing up Headset Health & Hygiene Standard Operating Procedures, click on the link below: