Bet You Didn’t Know This About Germs On Objects You Touch A Lot!

(This excellent info is courtesy of  BRUCO, the Billings, MT based distributor of cleaning supplies and equipment for commercial and institutional organizations.)
Tis the season that we all get closed up in buildings together which increases our risk of bringing home and spreading sickness to our families.
In a study of 400 managers and employees conducted by HLW International LLP (Journal Buildings, 1999), employees’ productivity levels were determined to be heavily influenced by the cleanliness of the office in which they worked.
The study found that cleaning has a very real and measurable value, specifically reporting a 5 percent productivity gain ($125,000) in a 100 associate office with an average salary of $25,000.
While you might presume that a toilet seat is one of the most highly infectious parts of your building, think again.  Be aware of these frequently used areas that are highly responsible for transmitting bacteria and viruses.
45 germs per sq inch –Office Toilet Seats
3200 germs per sq inch — School Toilet Seats
1676 germs per sq. inch — Computer Mouse
3300 germs per sq. inch — Keyboard
12,000 germs per sq. inch — Office Desktop
25,000 germs per sq. inch — Office Telephones
2,700,000 bacteria per sq inch — Water Fountain Spigot
Some other culprits are:
  • School desktops which have 400 times more germs per sq. inch than a toilet seat!!
  • Touch screen and credit card swipe terminals which are practically standard at grocery stores, retail stores, and restaurants
  • Restroom and any other door knobs
  • Bathroom hand rails
  • Toilet flush handles
  • Sinks
  • Elevator buttons
  • Chair arm rests including the underpart of the arm rest
And don’t forget the company break room.  Kitchens typically have a much higher level of bacteria than the restrooms and if you use a sponge, throw it away.  It carries the highest rate of bacteria, more than any other surface.  In the workplace, the safest thing to go with is disinfectant disposable wipes.
It’s important to review and train your staff on the importance of disinfecting these highly touched objects daily or several times a day depending on the traffic the area gets.  A disinfectant will kill 99.9% of pathogenic agents.
Dwell times are very important.  School desks can have up to 400 times the amount of bacteria as a toilet seat.  Be aware of the dwell times and don’t move too quickly through your cleaning tasks as it may just cancel out what your intention was.  A disinfectant has to have time to work.  This can be as low as 2 minutes if using a disinfectant like Perisept.  (Longer for weak consumer formulations.)
Consider what happens when you clean a surface by spraying and wiping. First of all, you won’t get complete coverage and the misting of chemicals is not something you want to breathe.  Take a look at this example of using pretreated microfiber in a patient room.  This method evenly distributes the disinfectant and ensures adequate dwell time.
Cleaning a Patient Room with Microfiber -- BRUCO, Inc.
Cleaning a Patient Room with Microfiber — BRUCO, Inc
This is much quicker since you’re not dealing with a mop and bucket for the floors and you’re not spraying and wiping.  It cuts out several steps of the cleaning process which means you’ll have more time to go after more of those highly touched objects throughout your facility.
Supply your staff with convenient disinfectant wipes to clean their desks, phone, keyboards and mice at the end of each day since desk areas are usually off limits to the cleaning staff.
Everyone has to work together to keep infections at bay.  You can’t solely rely on the cleaning staff to cover all surfaces frequently enough.  Each department should have best practices that they follow to help carry the load.  Staff should also be encouraged to stay home if they are sick.
Floodco LLC wishes you the healthiest and happiest of holiday seasons – and every other season in 2015!
Posted by Lloy       Please comment in the reply space below or email        lloy@floodco.net
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4 TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS FROM WINTER’S WRATH

Water cleanup photo

Winter’s surprises can be tough enough on your business without damaging events. But when you experience a burst pipe, flooded offices, fire, smoke or other preventable event, the aftermath can be both costly and disruptive. Here are four tips for avoiding some all-too-common winter business disasters:
1) Inspect and upgrade older deficient plumbing.
Frozen and burst pipes are very costly and disruptive to a business. That’s why we recommend paying close attention to plumbing systems all year round. Insulate water-carrying pipes in areas that don’t receive much heat, and fix the smallest cracks or gaps in surrounding walls that could introduce cold air into areas surrounding pipes. Throughout the winter, check the temperature in any areas you think are at risk of falling below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If the wind is blowing and it’s cold, provide additional heat to areas where water lines and drains are near exterior walls. The cost of temporary heat will be far less than damage resulting from burst pipes.

Be sure key workers know where the main water shutoff valve is located. Mark or flag it boldly so the building water supply can be located fast should a pipe burst. Don’t overlook the fire sprinkler system. A frozen pipe in a fire sprinkler system puts your entire building and valuable contents at risk. Do not assume that pipes that did not freeze in past years won’t freeze solid with the next cold blast of arctic air.

2) Evaluate your heat source(s) and the roof over your head.
Whether heavy snowfall or rain is in the forecast, your firm’s roof will often bear the brunt of it. Inspect the roof carefully (in warmer weather) and repair any weak spots. Schedule a furnace clean and check, do any needed repairs. Remember that it will be next to impossible to get prompt repair service during a cold snap when hundreds of other owners also desperately need an HVAC technician!

3) Have a detailed plan to deal with power loss.
A lengthy power outage at any time of the year is horrible for business. During a winter cold snap, it would be devastating. Heavy ice and snow in the winter bring the very real possibility of downed power lines from falling tree branches. Prepare your business to deal with a protracted outage. Your plan needs to cover everything from keeping employees and guests safe to protecting sensitive inventory, equipment or data. After the power goes out and is not coming back on is not the  time to devise a response plan.

4) Plan to keep all communication lines open when or if events take control.
Work out a written plan for what your business will do to operate in different weather scenarios, along with a predefined system in place for communicating storm or disaster related updates. Employees should know what expectations are for getting to work and how to proceed safely. If the weather forecast starts to portend difficult or unsafe conditions, remind employees and customers how they can get updates from home, and then be sure to have supervisor(s) providing regular pertinent communications. Don’t forget to inform your new hires.

If our early cold and snow carries into the next months, this winter of 2014-15 may be seriously challenging for organizations inadequately prepared. The majority of the country experienced record setting low temperatures in November, with new record lows set in over 400 communities.

Following these planning tips should help keep your business safer and running smoothly this and every winter. If problems should develop where we can help with losses due to water, fire or smoke, please call for help. FLOODCO LLC 406 892-1717. Our staff answers 24/7 every day of the year.

Posted by Lloy 12/5/2014   Your comments are encouraged. Please email lloy@floodco.net