Minimising the risk of avoidable illness

No one likes being ill – it’s something we all actively try to avoid. For professional athletes the stakes are even higher and a bout of COVID-19, or even a simple case of the common cold, might ruin more than their week; it could destroy months of preparation and an entire team’s hopes for success. If Lewis Hamilton, Chris Froome, Ben Ainslie or Geraint Thomas were unwell on the day they went for glory, there may have been very different results.

At INEOS, we have always held the health and safety of our people as paramount. The same too for our elite sports teams.

Ten years ago Team INEOS, developed a unique programme which they called “Zero days”. The aim was simple, to reduce the number of days lost to preventable illness or injury to zero.
In recent years, as INEOS has become increasingly involved in a number of elite sports, these teams have shared best practice. It is clear that there is some common learning to prevent illness that applies not only to sport but to everyone’s day to day lives.

“Minimising the risk of avoidable illness is key to success in sport. Consequently, over the last ten years, Team INEOS has developed a unique hygiene programme to protect the Team INEOS riders and staff. It has now become critical for everyone in every part of life – from sport and school to the workplace and home. Through INEOS Hygienics and state-of-the-art products, we are taking this same expert knowledge to help equip the public in their fight against infection.” Sir Dave Brailsford, Team INEOS Principal

Whether you are part of elite sports or not, the transmission of viruses and bacteria that cause illness is preventable by following three essential steps.

If illness is preventable, how do you prevent it?


The first step is to understand your risk. If you are protecting the health of you and your family, you need to know where the risk to their health lies. In this case, the threat is illness, so you need to identify where you are vulnerable to that threat. Once you know your weaknesses, you can eliminate your vulnerabilities by:

  • Research how to boost your natural immunity and resistance to illness. This video may help:
  • Are you getting enough sleep or exercise, for instance? This video explains the importance of keeping your internal clock in rhythm. 
  • Identify and eliminate threats in your home and other spaces through effective cleaning processes.


  • Maintain the highest hygiene standards to reduce and stop the transmission of germs to yourself and others. Right now, that means washing your hands regularly, using sanitiser when you can’t, and following all advice on face coverings and social distancing. These rules are in place because they work, actively slowing and even halting transmission of multiple viruses, not just COVID-19.  
  • Don’t let standards slip. It is easy to be fastidious when the threat level is at its highest; however, it is critical that you maintain the same mindset, even when the risk appears to have dissipated.   
  • Ensure family and those around you follow the same rules to the same level.


  • Constantly monitor your own health and, if you have any symptoms, ensure that you inform those you’ve been in contact with so they may also self-isolate if necessary. Never go into the office/workplace if you are showing any symptoms.
  • Continue to regulate your environment, keeping the same processes and following the hygiene regiment you have developed.

If you follow these steps you can help to protect yourself, protect others, and take control.