Implementing successful infection control programs isn’t easy because it’s difficult to get people to change their hygiene habits. A little creativity, however, can go a long way, says Gabriel Gonzalez, vice president of business development at Bridgewater, N.J.-based Nova Services Group.
“The year that H1N1 was making headlines, one of our clients was very concerned about a flu outbreak. We know that infection control takes more than cleaning and disinfecting; it also takes involvement from clients and the employees that work for them,” Gonzalez says. “So we created disinfecting stations throughout the office.”
These stations contained hand sanitizer and a box with gloves, towels and a hospital-grade quad disinfectant. The idea was, if an employee got sick and needed to go home, he could use the supplies to disinfect his cubicle and desk surface before leaving, preventing the spread of infection. Disinfecting stations were also placed in conference rooms, so that those surfaces could be cleaned and disinfected by employees on a regular basis.
All clients are offered daily disinfection and infection control services, but what they get depends on their needs and budget. Schools, for instance, are very budget-conscious and might only approve the use of a simple bleach and water solution, as well as a multipurpose cleaner and disinfectant, using different dilution levels to clean windows, floors and surfaces.
Nova has found that no-touch water-based cleaning machines are effective tools for disinfecting high-traffic restrooms in schools, an area where infections can spread easily because of the room’s various touch points.
“Once a week we spray the restrooms with a neutral disinfectant and powerwash everything, then extract the dirty, bacteria-laden water,” Gonzalez says.
Other facilities where infection control is highly valued are fitness centers and gyms, where upwards of 1,000 people come and go each day.
“We have a day porter on site, and he or she is constantly disinfecting surfaces,” Gonzalez says.
Porters wipe down restroom surfaces four or five times a day; mop locker room floors and wipe surfaces between five and 10 times a day; and foam-gun showers with disinfectant two to three times daily (showers are also machine scrubbed by the night janitorial staff). Porters, as well as facility employees and members, also clean the exercise equipment multiple times per day, both before and after the machine is used, says Gonzalez.
When clients see the effort a BSC has put into infection control, they’re more likely to continue the business relationship.
“If you’re constantly disinfecting and cleaning a space correctly, you’ll have a client for longer and there will be fewer employee complaints,” Gonzalez says.
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POSTED ON: 5/28/2013