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BNZ 'soap nazis' battle early flu

Last updated 16:19 24/03/2014
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Are the actions of BNZ managers reasonable?

Yes, controlling the spread of bugs at work is important

No, it's completely over the top

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SANDRA CROSBIE/Feilding Herald
TAKING PRECAUTIONS: Washing hands or using a sanitiser, is thought to help keep flu at bay.

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BNZ staff are calling senior managers "soap Nazis" after being told they should measure hand sanitiser use and clean all surfaces twice a day.

The measures have been proposed in an effort to cut down on the number of staff taking sick leave because of colds and flu.

The BNZ's Canterbury regional manager, Christina Gardner, wrote in an email to staff around the country that Canterbury branches had been hit by "high absenteeism" because of colds, flu and tummy bugs which had "hit early and hit hard" this year.

She suggested a range of methods be implemented across the country to "try and stem the onslaught".

They were put in place at her previous job with NZ Post, she said.

The measures have had staff chuckling behind their hands and muttering about "soap Nazis", a play on the famous Seinfeld episode The Soup Nazi.

Gardner told The Press the ideas were just suggestions and it was up to managers what was implemented.

"It was about giving them ideas. We are in a retail environment with lots of customers coming through the door. I was just sharing ideas about how we could keep ourselves and customers healthy," she said.

"It's not compulsory. Some people will see it as a good idea to share and some will not."

Gardner suggested in the email that every teller have a bottle of hand sanitiser on their desk and every branch should have disinfectant hand wipes. Every staff member should have their own water bottle to keep hydrated.

Most importantly, Gardner said, each branch should nominate a "mum" or "dad" to be the health nurse for that branch, whose role would be to check that all staff used their sanitiser throughout the day - checking the levels of bottles.

They should replace the bottles when they got low, encourage people "with love" to drink water regularly and twice a day go around with wipes and clean door handles, keyboards, phones and handsets.

"Seriously, these actions made a massive difference to the number of sick days taken," Gardner wrote.

It's understood the hygiene measures are being rolled out at branches around Canterbury and the rest of the country.

One staffer was not at all impressed.

"It's just ridiculous, they're treating us like children, it's so over-the-top."

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