Updates from the Leading Association for the Cleaning Industry Worldwide
Did You Know?
The IICRC Carpet-related workshop October 3-6, 2006, being held during ISSA/INTERCLEAN® USA at McCormick Place South in Chicago, will cover the IICRC Carpet Cleaning Technician Certification. To find out more, or to register, visit www.issa.com or call ISSA’s Customer Service Department at 800-225-4772.
Analyzing Green Cleaning
Managers, owners and stakeholders are interested in the many benefits that a facility can experience when going green. The journey toward launching such a cleaning program begins with an assessment of products, procedures and worker training.
All products must be evaluated to determine their impact on the indoor environment and on worker safety. Chemicals and disposables need to be analyzed for harmful ingredients and recycled content, while equipment must have the ability to capture and contain soil. Low moisture cleaning systems, preventative matting and products with extended life cycles all contribute to a sustainable green program.
The second component that impacts the facility is best practice and cleaning frequency. Areas are divided into high and low risk. High-risk areas require increased cleaning frequency, and a higher level of cleaning science must be applied to ensure proper hygiene and sanitation. Task time and cleaning frequency are defined so that adequate labor hours can be assigned to meet the increased cleaning standards.
Finally, workers who are skilled in general cleaning techniques often need additional training in green cleaning methods. These are techniques that reduce bacteria and contaminants while increasing hygiene on surfaces and high-use contact areas. Educating workers and supervisors increases the technical knowledge of personnel and improves the work environment for everyone.
Once managers identify the products and procedures they are interested in, the next step is to document the savings or increases that will directly impact their budgets. Managers not only need to analyze the unit price, but should also look at variables in the product that could affect the final investment, such as bulk chemical versus dispensing systems, or roll towels versus C-fold. When those factors are included, a product that might have a higher unit price still could come out to be less expensive than a current product.
ISSA now offers a new program, EcoSmart, to help better document the financial gains of green cleaning. This easy-to-use application covers chemicals, equipment, paper products and even training costs. It offers quick reports and presentation-ready graphs to explain results to upper management or customers. The program also comes with a free bonus workloading application to calculate annual labor costs. Visit www.info-clean.com/ecosmart.html to learn more or call ISSA at 800-225-4772.
Green Seal Revises Cleaning Services Standard
The latest version of Green Seal’s draft Cleaning Services Standard, released for a second round of balloting on July 4 with final votes received by July 14, contains a substantial revision to its approach to define environmentally preferable cleaning products.
Green Seal announced in mid-June that the first round of balloting did not result in a consensus, and that it would revise the draft standard further for the purpose of achieving greater consensus. Consequently, Green Seal made several revisions to the standard in response to stakeholder comments.
Most notably, Green Seal has adopted an alternative approach to the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing guidelines and has significantly revised its definition of environmentally preferable cleaning products.
The draft standard now defines environmentally preferable cleaning products to include not only products certified by Green Seal and Environmental Choice, but also includes products recognized by the U.S. EPA Design for the Environment Formulator Initiative, thereby allowing for more products to qualify as green.
Throughout the standard development process, ISSA has advocated that Green Seal adopt such a multi-faceted approach to define green products. Such an approach ensures that under the standard, cleaning service providers would be assured a robust supply of reasonably priced, effective, and environmentally preferable cleaning products.
The draft Cleaning Services Standard’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing guidelines have been revised by replacing a requirement that 50 percent of all products meet the environmentally preferable criteria, in favor of specific categories of products that must be considered environmentally preferable under the standard.
These changes should greatly simplify the environmentally preferable product requirements while allowing for more green products in general. To obtain a copy of the revised Green Seal Cleaning Services Standard, e-mail ISSA’s Bill Balek, firstname.lastname@example.org. (Place “GS Revised Standard” in the subject line of your e-mail).
ISSA Launches Safety Web Site
ISSA has created a one-of-a-kind Web network dedicated exclusively to the protection of the health and safety of workers in the cleaning industry, the latest step in the association’s ongoing alliance with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The site offers five topics pages focusing on: Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens; Cleaning Chemicals in the Workplace (Hazard Communication); Injury & Illness Recordkeeping; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); and Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace.
Each page provides detailed information on regulatory compliance obligations, plus tips and resources for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for employees in that area. Visit www.issa.com/osha to view the site.
Federal Agencies Step up Immigration Enforcement
While Congress continues to debate immigration reform, Federal agencies have stepped up their enforcement of immigration laws and regulations currently on the books, including those that require employers to verify that immigrants they hire are legally eligible to work in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that specifies “safe harbor” procedures that an employer can take in response to a “no match” letter it receives from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This verification method will eliminate the possibility that DHS will claim an employer had constructive knowledge that it was employing an alien not authorized to work in the U.S., in violation of federal immigration laws.
For a recap of the regulations, Employers Get Guidance on Response to SSA “No Match” Letters, please visit www.naw.org/nomatch.
Source: National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors
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