EPA Study to Determine Best Cleaning Methods
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sampling for contaminants in 110 Liberty St., a still-unoccupied building close to the World Trade Center (WTC) site, in what will be a comprehensive test of the effectiveness of various cleanup techniques.

The EPA also will evaluate various methods for cleaning HVAC systems. Personal monitoring will measure possible exposures to the people doing the cleaning.

Cleaning procedures to be tested include those that were recommended following the collapse of the WTC as well as others that may have been used in cleaning apartment buildings. Comprehensive sampling will be conducted before, during and after the pilot cleanup.

The building at 110 Liberty St. is a five-story, mixed-use facility containing six commercial spaces and some apartments. Windows and storefronts facing the WTC and the fifth-floor skylights were blown out, resulting in very heavy dust loads in those units. Residential spaces and the roof and basement were professionally cleaned shortly after the collapse of the WTC but became contaminated by dust raised during recovery work.

The EPA will confirm and evaluate eight cleaning techniques during the study. These techniques will be specific to each space based on the amount of dust in the area, the presence of carpets, drapes, etc., and the space’s location in the building. Options to be evaluated include:

  • The use of household (non-HEPA) vacuum cleaners.
  • The use of retail HEPA vacuum cleaners.
  • The use of commercial HEPA vacuum cleaners.
  • The use of air filtration devices.
  • The use of wet vacuuming and steam cleaning on carpeting, and
  • Wet wiping and washing.

The pilot testing of cleaning effectiveness is part of a major effort by EPA to reduce the safety concerns of people who live and work in lower Manhattan.

Are Workers Paying for Increased Productivity?
Facing demanding shareholders, cutthroat competitors and an economic downturn, business owners have been under tremendous pressure to boost output during the last decade. While a push for productivity may be good for the bottom line, some workers often pay for it with exhaustion and pain, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper reported that job speedup is emerging as a top complaint for low-wage employees in such sectors as cleaning and other service-based jobs. The speedup has become a pivotal bargaining issue in some union contracts, and health and safety experts consider it a source of injury and illness.

Las Vegas hotel housekeepers recently put job speed ahead of wages during their June contract negotiations. That came on the heels of a study commissioned by the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) International Union that showed during the past 10 years Las Vegas workers have increased the number of rooms they clean daily. The number of rooms management expects workers to clean varies with each hotel, but the study revealed that the average number of rooms Las Vegas managers expect workers to clean during a shift is 15.2.

The study also found that workers cleaning more than 14 rooms are 30 percent more likely to suffer from fair or poor health and to report 25 percent more often severe pain.

Many health and safety experts suspect that fast pace is at the root of an epidemic of musculoskeletal injuries, such as tendinitis. The HERE International Union study also found high levels of stress, pain and unreported injuries among hotel cleaners.

Also, in a paper released in May, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health identified speedup and other changes in work organization as a priority for further research.

Mergers&Other Moves

  • Drackett Professional became the exclusive distributor for National Brands Inc. in February. National Brands products include Fantastik®, Scrubbing Bubbles®, Glass Plus®, Pine Power® and Janitor-In-A-Drum®. Drackett Professional, a division of S.C. Johnson Commercial Markets Inc., is a supplier of products such as Drano®, Glade®, Pledge®, Raid®, Windex® and others.
  • CPAC Inc. recently retained Bank of America to assist in exploring investment opportunities as part of CPAC’s growth plans for the future. The focus of CPAC’s plan is to incrementally increase its revenues and profit margins through the internal growth and development of its Fuller Brands segment and through the acquisition of compatible businesses. The company is working to identify acquisition targets in the commercial cleaning products market.
  • Entreprenuer magazine named Jani-King commercial cleaning franchising company as the No. 1 home-based franchise in May. The Entreprenuer Franchise 500 ranking is based on such factors as growth rate, financial strength, stability and size of the franchise system.
  • Hillyard Industries and Hillyard Inc. manufacturers and distributors of maintenance supplies and equipment recently announced their participation in Product CareSM, a voluntary product stewardship program of the Consumer Specialty Products Association. The program provides guidelines for developing, manufacturing, distributing and marketing products made by its member companies.
  • State Cleaning Service Inc., a full-service building maintenance company, has been certified by the State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The certification allows the cleaning service to participate in contracts designated for minority- and women-owned businesses.
  • The Malish Corp. announced in June its acquisition of HyGrade Products. HyGrade is a co-manufacturer of brushware and cutting boards. The Malish Corp. is a manufacturer of operations, engineering and maintenance products and aftermarket rotary brushes.
  • Desco Industries Inc. recently acquired the Protektive Pak division of Brick Container Corp. The division manufactures and markets corrugated paper and plastic containers.
  • Brownyard Group Inc. updated its Web site in June. New features include a streaming video, the option to apply online and more detailed descriptions of services.

Magazines Team Up With ISSA For End-User Education
Housekeeping Solutions and Contracting Profits magazines once again are working together with the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) to sponsor and develop educational seminars for building service contractors and housekeeping managers at ISSA/InterClean® USA 2002 Oct.15-18.

The seminars are included in the conference registration fee and do not require additional payment. Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, the educational sessions will take place all day Wednesday, Oct. 16, and cover a wide range of management, employee and operational topics. Thursday, Oct. 17 from 8:30-10 a.m. will be an all-attendee seminar.

For more information regarding the sessions, visit www.cleanlink.com.