Color Coding for Health

Color coding is not just important for hospitals and assisted living facilities. How about schools, offices and factories? Is it any less important in those facilities to keep cleaning materials used in restrooms separate from those used in the cafeteria? Of course not!

  1. Contract cleaners can demonstate their ability to clean for health in a highly visual way
  2. School systems can identify the color coding system in posters placed where staff and students can see and support
  3. In factories where turnover in cleaning personel is high, color-coding assists in training
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Wednesday
Aug172011

Reduce Cleaning Cost Inside Your Facility by Keeping Dirt and Germs Outside

Sand, grit, dirt, rocks, mud, oil and ice melt chemistry are murder on floors. The answer is to stop them in their tracks.Fall and winter weather in most states means rain and snow. Tracked across parking lots, mud, dirt, soil, oil, ice melt formulations and grit end up inside your building. Once inside, they wreak havoc on floor finishes and carpet. The further they travel into your building, the more expensive they are  remove. 

According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, quality entrance mats that extend up to 15 feet inside the building will trap 80 percent of soil and moisture from the first five or six foot steps. 3M promotes a 3-zone system to keep grit and sand outdoors, then trap wet soils and finally to dry shoes and perform final cleaning before occupants or visitors set foot on permanent surfaces. They recommend 20' of entry matting to capture 86 percent of incoming soil loads. If room for 30', 3M maintains that 100 percent of soil can be captured in mats. 

The ISSA in its book of Cleaning Times places the cost of removing a pound of dirt allowed inside a building at up to $600.

An investment in quality matting that extends well into the building, and in some cases that is tailored to traffic patterns, keeps dirt in the mats and out of carpeting and off of floors. Because dirt eventually becomes dust, mats keep tracked in soil off of desks, window sills and light fixtures where they settle after becoming dry and airborne.

One square yard of commercial carpeting can capture one pound of dirt per week. - 540 Cleaning Times

Dr. Charles Gerba, an environmental biologist at the University of Arizona, has shown that shoes are also excellent transportation devices for bringing germs into your building. Good matting helps contain those pathogens before they are distributed throughout the building. Consider use of a disinfectant with your cleaning solution during extraction.

Here are ten tips/reminders for stopping dirt at the door:

  1. Think containment. Confine dirt to an area designed for it, and where it is easier to remove and can do little harm to your building.
  2. Make sure your actual traffic patterns are covered. 15 or 20 feet of matting running straight may look beautiful. However, if everyone takes a sharp left or right turn at the door, you may need custom mats and the assistance of a distributor experienced in sizing and ordering them.
  3. Use the 3-zone approach. Fall-through matting to remove major soil loads, large grit and sand, should be placed outside the entrance. Because trapped material falls through, it is easy to sweep away periodically by simply lifting this type of matting. In zone two, scrape clean and absorb greasy soils. In zone three, dry and final clean shoes.
  4. Stopping slips and falls is as important as saving your floors and reducing cleaning labor. Just one accident claim or lawsuit can be extremely expensive.* Have backup mats ready for sloppy days.
  5. Rental matting in standard sizes is often thin so it is easy to carry and launder. Make sure to purchase high quality matting and have the right equipment to keep it clean (often the same equipment you use elsewhere).
  6. Maintaining your own mats saves the environmental load of transportation to and from laundry facilities. The cost of this expense will buy you much better quality mats in from eight months to two years in most cases.
  7. When talking with purchasing, remind that good matting helps expand the time between floor finishing cycles (a large expense), and extends the life of carpets (another large expense).
  8. The carpet is often the largest "air filter" in a building. If allowed to do the work of entry mats, carpet will capture and hold dirt, moisture and eventually molds and mildew - top producers of allergy and asthma reactions.
  9. Discard mats with rippled edges and tears. They present trip hazards. Buying high-quality matting will reduce the incidence of such hazards.
  10. Don't forget minor entrances. Sometimes short mats or no mats are placed at side entrances. Persons entering through secondary doors have shoes just as laden with soil loads as those who enter through the main entrance.

 * The National Safety Council estimates that more than 9 million disabling slips and falls occur each year with costs averaging more than $20,000 per claim. The average cost to defend against a slip and fall lawsuit is $50,000, and the average award in cases that go to trial is $100,000, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).

 

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