A Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Office Pt. 3

The third and final post in our series of blogs on how to maintain a healthy office focuses on some of the trade secrets used by the professionals. From the use of colour coded equipment to prevent cross-contamination to tips on effectively infection control methods, they give you an insight into the practices used by the contract cleaning industry and can be used to benchmark your incumbent cleaners.

71% of workers believe dirty office spaces have made them ill in the past – Durable UK, 2011

Why do cleaners use colour coded equipment?

The British Institute of Cleaning Science recommend the use of colour coded equipment to prevent cross contamination. You wouldn’t want the same cloths that are used to clean washrooms to also be used to clean kitchen surfaces. Mops, buckets, brooms and cloths should be colour coded for use in designated areas to reduce the risk of cross contamination

colourcodedColour codes

  • Yellow – Healthcare use
  • Red – general washrooms
  • Blue – general lower risk areas
  • Red and White – Sanitary appliances
  • Green – general food and bar use
  • White – bespoke or site specific

If your cleaners aren’t using colour coded equipment, ask yourself this. How do I know where that cloth has been ?

Infection control – Keep germ hotspots clean

Researchers from the University of Arizona conducted an experiment to see how quickly a virus can be spread throughout a typical office. They swabbed two commonly touched surfaces with a harmless bacteria to mimic norovirus and throughout the course of the day, sampled various surfaces in the building. They found evidence of the virus on 40-60 percent of the people and frequently touched surfaces.

An experienced cleaning contractor will know the best methods of infection control for your office; identifying which surfaces to sanitise and how often.Some of the most inconspicuous but commonly touched surfaces can get overlooked. Frequently used objects such as lift buttons, kettles, microwaves and door handles present the greatest threat of germs spreading. Harmful bacteria can live on these surfaces for up to 48 hours, exposing more people to the risk of infection as they come into contact with these areas.

Provide tissues and hand sanitiser

This is elementary stuff, but ensuring staff have have access to and are encouraged to use hand washing facilities, as well as tissues, will prevent the spread of germs, keeping everyone healthier and reducing sickness absence.

Consider supplying tissues on desks for when staff cough or sneeze, and bins in which they can throw the tissues away immediately after use. Providing hand sanitising gel or foam dispensers in key locations such as kitchen areas or near entrances and exits will prevent the introduction of bacteria and virus to the building from the daily commute. By ensuring your employees have access to appropriate hand hygiene products you can take a significant step towards minimising workplace absenteeism.

When you cough germs can travel about three metres if you do not put your hand or a tissue over your nose and mouth – Health Protection Agency.

For more advice on maintaining a clean and healthy office, call us on 0800 4488026.