ASHES Introduces Online Benchmarking Tool for Hospitals

The American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services (ASHES) unveiled a data-collection program at this year’s ASHES conference that is designed to help establish best practices for environmental services managers.

National Environmental Services Performance Indicators (NESPI) is an Internet-based survey of hospital environmental services practices. All licensed U.S. hospitals will be able to participate. Data collection will begin with staffing practices and follow up with waste management information, compensation and other member-identified data requests. Environmental services professionals will enter their organization data and use the site to compare their practices with other hospitals. Users will select comparisons based on their choice of organizational demographics.

ASHES is calling on environmental services managers — members and nonmembers — to participate in the survey in order to obtain accurate data reports. The official kick-off of NESPI is May 2006.

GREENGUARD Creates Standard to Protect Children from Harmful Chemicals

Anew standard from GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) — Standard for Children & SchoolsTM — establishes volatile organic compound (VOC) criteria for manufacturers of building materials, furnishings, finishes and cleaning products used in schools and daycare facilities.

GEI officials see a need for a standard that ensures low VOC emission levels. VOC emissions can trigger serious illnesses, including asthma in children. The new standard takes into consideration the sensitive nature of school populations, unique building characteristics and maintenance conditions found in schools. A typical school can have up to four times as many occupants as an office building with the same amount of floor space. Additionally, room size, ventilation rate requirements, and the amount of furnishings and building materials used per room create unique air-quality environments.

Certified products will be listed in the online GREENGUARD product directory at

2006 International Fire Code Allows Alcohol-Based Hand Rubs

The International Code Council (ICC) recently created a new section in the Flammable and Combustible Liquids chapter of the International Fire Code (IFC) to address the use of alcohol-based hand rubs.

By providing detailed criteria on the use and storage of alcohol-based hand rubs, the IFC provides guidance to minimize any potential fire risk, while allowing hand-rub dispensers to be installed in buildings to allow access and use by healthcare workers.

The IFC includes rules addressing the dispenser sizes, placement and storage.

The IFC is adopted and enforced by 36 states and Washington, D.C.