How to Safely and Effectively Encourage Maintaining Cleaner and Healthier Workspaces
When managing a daily cleaning operation, time is very valuable. Regardless of size, number of buildings or overall cleanable square footage, every cleaning operation has a finite amount of time to get things done. Historically, it has been an uphill battle to ensure building occupants understand this concept. In the pandemic “before times,” it was not uncommon for the daily cleaning function to be somewhat invisible and often, grossly misunderstood. Times have definitely changed — schools, universities and now, office buildings are opening back up and there’s renewed vigor and enthusiasm for keeping public spaces healthier and cleaner. The curiosity and interest in how buildings are cleaned daily, and more importantly how to keep them that way, are refreshing topics of conversations that I used to only have with leadership teams and custodial professionals. These conversations are a positive step forward.
With renewed interest comes renewed responsibility to manage cleaning crews with safety and efficiency in mind and to make sure that occupants are safe. It’s only natural that occupants want to help keep their spaces clean. Many times, in an attempt to be helpful, occupants may bring products from home; concoct their own solutions using what’s available in the building; or even go as far as to borrow things from custodial closets that may or may not be harmful to themselves and others. It’s for this reason that I strongly recommend providing disinfecting wipes for building occupants and teaching them about using products effectively and safely in classrooms and workspaces.
In my mind, there are several great benefits to providing disinfecting wipes for building occupants:
- First and foremost, it’s all about efficiency. Most cleaning departments outside of healthcare settings are budgeted to clean in a way that mitigates risk. The assumption of a sterile environment is a heavy, unrealistic expectation for cleaning departments. That being said, you can expect a healthy level of clean from daily cleaning. However, if there is concern over touch points in shared work areas, classrooms in between classes, or even after use of break rooms and break spaces, disinfecting wipes are an efficient and sensible solution.
- Secondly, safety is key! When occupants bring cleaning products from home, they put the entire building at risk from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standpoint. Federal law requires that all potentially hazardous materials, including cleaning products, are documented in the building’s hazardous material inventory and SDSs are on hand, and accessible in the event of an emergency or mishap with product. This is why it’s better for the cleaning department to provide products building occupants can use. Disinfecting wipes are a familiar form that does not require dilution or complicated procedures, making it an easy grab-and-go solution for occupants that you can feel comfortable providing to them.
- Third, disinfecting wipes remove and kill pathogenic microorganisms. While COVID-19 is mainly spread through the air, many other harmful pathogens are not and these can survive on surfaces for extended periods of time. In addition to COVID-19, wipes can be an effective solution against bacteria like Streptococcus and Staphylococcus, viruses like norovirus and influenza, and a wide variety of other commonly spread pathogens that can cause illness.
- Finally — wipes are simple to teach building occupants how to use. While it may be impractical to equip cleaning crews with wipes as their go-to disinfecting tool, wipes may be a perfect solution for occupants. They are easy to teach, they are simple to use and if effectively placed in visible locations throughout facilities, they are easy to spot.
If you’re looking for a simple solution for occupants who want to help by disinfecting their areas, disinfecting wipes are a low cost, low risk solution.