Be Clean, Be Safe, Be More Profitable
The cleanliness of a facility is a major safety issue. It is why cleaning is increasingly being linked to health care, as more people realize the close relationship between a clean indoor environment and human health. Yet too often, cleaning remains the first area to be cut when organizational budgets tighten.
Below are four key areas where proper cleaning and floor care chemical use can be directly connected to the health and safety of a building’s inhabitants. Point to this list the next time the corner office suggests slicing your budget.
The Bottom Line: Floors
- Injuries from slips, trips and falls resulted in 247,120 cases of lost work and 818 employee deaths in 2014.
- Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims.
- Floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year.
Slips and falls aren’t the only hazard floors can pose. Recent research in health care facilities shows that floors that come in contact with wheel chairs, medical equipment, bodily fluids and even staff shoes can be a major source of health care acquired infections (HAIs). These safety concerns translate into real dollars lost for your business through worker absences, lost productivity, more worker compensation claims and higher insurance premiums.
The Good News: There are ways you can reduce the risk of these types of accidents:
- Create an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Prevention programs are far less expensive than the costs related to workplace injuries.
- Look for floor finishes that are nonslip and meet or exceed ASTM D-2047 standards. These products can greatly reduce the incidents of slips and trips.
- Choose a disinfecting floor cleaner, like Nyco Uno. These disinfectants are especially good choices for use in health care and other settings where floors have a high potential of harboring dangerous viruses and germs.
Where People and Food Meet: Lunch Rooms
An estimated 48 million people get sick and 3,000 die from foodborne illnesses each year in the United States, according to The U. S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Food service operations are not the only facilities that should be concerned about these statistics. Nearly every business has, if not a full kitchen, a lunch room, break room or other area where people and food meet. Keeping these areas clean and sanitized tells employees and visitors that their health is a priority, which improves employee morale and increases productivity.
Below are ways to assure food service areas are as safe as possible:
- Encourage proper handwashing. The main way foodborne pathogens are spread is through cross-contamination—the transfer of harmful bacteria from one type of food to another. Proper hand washing technique is essential to preventing food-related illnesses.
- Regularly clean and disinfect all food surfaces. These include the obvious, such as countertops, refrigerators and cutting boards, as well as the less obvious—can openers, sponges/scrubbers, garbage disposals and cabinet handles.
- Choose the right cleaning product. Food service cleanliness requires a range of products deemed safe for food-area use as well as an understanding of the differences between cleaners, disinfectants and sanitizers.
For best practices on how to clean and properly sanitize break rooms and lunch rooms, visit Strategies for Break Room Cleaning and Disinfecting.
Ready, Set, Go: The Clean Restroom
Dirty sinks and counters, unflushed or urine-sprinkled toilets, empty or sloppy soap dispensers, inadequate hand drying options…. we all know the safety and health hazards poorly maintained restrooms pose, and studies as well as OSHA confirm the detrimental effects these adverse conditions can have on workers overtime, including long-term health issues, absenteeism, and even depression.
Besides posing major health issues, a dirty bathroom is bad for business—real bad, with up to 94 percent of surveyed restaurant patrons saying they would not return to a restaurant with a dirty restroom.
Here are a few suggestions to ensure clean, healthy facility restrooms.
- Follow proper cleaning procedures including a restroom checklist. Post it where it is clearly visible along with a request to let management know if the restroom needs attention.
- Go touchless. If you haven’t installed them already, consider sensor-based soap dispensers, faucets, and towel dispensers to reduce touch points.
- Stock up. Restroom care requires many types of cleaning chemicals—from bowl cleaners to floor cleaners to disinfectants—and lots in between. Be sure to have what you need on hand.
- Control odors. Choose products that are certified-safe with a pleasant aroma that isn’t overpowering for those with fragrance sensitivities. Nyco’s line of MARVALOSA deodorizers is an excellent choice.
Where People—Not Germs—Should Gather: Office Spaces
The news is full of “interesting” stats when it comes to personal work spaces and germs. For example, on average, a desktop harbors 20,961 germs per square inch, a keyboard up to 3,295, and a phone a staggering 25,127. All these are far more than the 127 germs per square inch found on your average toilet seat.
Since most employees spend the majority of their workday in their office space, the opportunity for these germs to negatively impact their health is great. So, too, are the adverse effects sick workers can have on a business.
Here are our top recommendations to keep office areas safer:
- Disinfect “high touch” surfaces regularly. Doorknobs, desk surfaces, phones and keyboards – these areas and items need extra TLC.
- Choose the right cleaning chemicals. This is especially important when it comes to selecting, since the best one for the job depends on what you are trying to kill as well as dwell time, toxicity and a host of other factors.
- Do the dwell. Be sure your employees understand the importance of leaving disinfectants on surfaces for the contact time specified on the label to insure chemicals have time to do their job.
- Check manufacturer recommendations and follow label instructions. Be sure the products you use are approved for the surfaces in question, especially when it comes to electronics.
If you follow the above suggestions in these four key areas, you’ll go a long way toward making your business cleaner, safer and more profitable.
Lisa Veeck is the former Editor-in-Chief of ISSA Today, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association Publication. With more than 27 years of experience in the facility maintenance and cleaning industry, Lisa Veeck is now owner of Clean Communications, a communications and content marketing firm that specializes in the cleaning and maintenance industry. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.