Updates from the Leading Association for the Cleaning Industry Worldwide
MRSA Prevention Guidelines
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have each issued guidelines intended to prevent the spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in schools and the workplace. Both guidelines emphasize the essential role played by good hygiene and housekeeping practices in preventing MRSA infections.
Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as “staph,” is a type of bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. It is one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. While most of these skin infections are minor — such as pustules and boils — and can be treated without antibiotics, the staph bacterium can also cause serious infections, such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia.
MRSA represents a group of staph bacteria that have developed resistance to several antibiotics, including methicillin. Most staph infections, including MRSA, occur among health care facility patients with weakened immune systems. However, both the CDC and NIOSH noted in their guidelines that staph and MRSA infections are possibly becoming more prevalent in otherwise healthy people. MRSA is most frequently transmitted by skin-to-skin contact or contact with items or surfaces that have come into contact with someone else’s infection.
Preventing MRSA Transmission
In their respective guidelines, the CDC and NIOSH identified the following as critical elements in preventing the transmission of MRSA in the workplace and schools:
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are likely to contact uncovered or poorly covered skin infections.
Cleaning surfaces with detergent-based cleaners or EPA-registered disinfectants.
Ensuring that routine housekeeping procedures are conducted.
Encouraging students and workers to practice good hygiene, including thoroughly washing hands, keeping cuts clean and covered, avoiding contact with other people’s wounds or bandages, and not sharing personal items, such as towels and uniforms.
Availability of MRSA Guidelines
In addition, the EPA provides a helpful list of EPA-registered disinfectants that are deemed effective against MRSA at www.epa.gov/oppad001/chemregindex.htm.
Please note that only product names from primary registrants are included on the EPA list of disinfectants deemed effective against MRSA. Facility service providers should check with their supplier to ensure that the products they are using are registered with the EPA specifically for use against MRSA — especially if the product is sold under an alternative name.
Dan Wagner is director of the Cleaning Industry Management Standard, or CIMS, and director of facility service legislative affairs for ISSA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; phone, 800-225-4772 (North America) or 847-982-0800.
DHS to Rewrite Illegal-Immigration Rule
Facing a legal challenge from an alliance of labor unions and business groups, the Bush administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will rewrite and reissue a rule intended to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants. DHS originally published its illegal-immigration rule last August, which would have required employers to fire a worker who cannot provide verifiable identity information within 90 days or face potential prosecution for “knowingly” hiring and employing an illegal immigrant.
The original rule, which also specified safe-harbor procedures for employers to follow after receiving a “no-match” letter from the Social Security Administration or DHS, was roundly criticized by various groups. A no-match letter essentially advises an employer that an employee’s identity does not match agency records and raises concern about whether the person is authorized to work. Ultimately, a legal challenge was filed by a coalition of groups, including the AFL-CIO and the United States Chamber of Commerce, claiming that the agency failed to follow proper procedure in developing and issuing the rule.
Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, Cal., issued an indefinite delay to the rule in October, finding that the government did not follow proper procedure and failed to conduct an impact analysis of the rule’s effect on small business. Judge Breyer also concluded that the Social Security database proposed to be used to verify worker status is not effective and that its use could result in the improper dismissal of many workers who are American citizens or otherwise fully authorized to work in the United States.
As part of his holding, Judge Breyer also prohibited the Social Security Administration from sending out approximately 141,000 no-match letters covering more than eight million employees. The letters were intended to be sent with instructions from DHS about the new illegal-immigration rule.
In announcing the agency’s intention to rewrite the illegal-immigration rule, DHS noted that a small-business survey will be conducted and that the redevelopment of the rule will “fully address the court’s concerns.”
Video Vitamins for Business Health
If you’re an in-house service provider competing for budget dollars, you won’t want to miss Thinking Sales Growth — 7 Elements to Consider, an ISSA video with strategic-planning expert John Delany, founder and president of Giraffe, LLC. Delany focuses on the major megatrends now impacting the cleaning industry and how you can use this knowledge to your advantage. The video, originally a February 28 webinar conducted on ISSA.com, can be accessed at www.issa.com/7webinar.
And speaking of ISSA videos, the first season of the ISSA Educational Quick Clips (EQC) series is now available on DVD. These 24 popular educational videos from top industry consultants should be in every facility manager’s library to use for staff training and quick reference. They also make great customer gifts. To order, call 800-225-4772 or visit www.issa.com/dvd.
New ISSA EQCs premiere twice monthly at ISSA.com. Check them out at www.issa.com/quickclips.
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