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Getting your premises ready for winter

11 September 2014

Luke Rutterford and Dr Peter Barratt discuss the measures businesses can take to keep their premises clean and hygienic

The DWP estimates that sickness among working age people costs Britain £100 billion per year. A report conducted by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of Initial Washroom Hygiene, which surveyed 1000 workers in the UK, identified that by investing in and improving workplace hygiene, it is within employers’ power to reduce this figure by 13%, and in turn save the country £13.7 billion, equating to around £700 per employee.             
How to thoroughly clean your facility 
One of the most powerful tools in the fight against grime is routine cleaning. It is important that daily and weekly cleaning is performed to maintain a general level of hygiene, but there should also be a deep-clean carried out at least twice a year. This will achieve an enhanced level of hygiene that your cleaning staff can then work to maintain.
Accumulations of airborne grease, oily residues and dust particles generated by heavy machinery and their processes, build-up deposits in a variety of hard-to-reach areas, such as in-between pieces of equipment and ventilation ducts. Not only can this cause a serious fire hazard, but it can also lead to malodours and render ventilation fans ineffective, causing temperature control issues within your facility. The added benefits of specialist deep-cleans can significantly outweigh the costs involved by, eliminating bacterial growth and removing residual carbon. Of course, regular deep-cleans should also ensure the longevity of your equipment. 

Facility managers should always seek the advice of specialists before considering a deep-clean, as there is a good chance every premise will require a tailored solution. Innovative specialist cleaning technology provides the highest possible levels of hygiene, while also ensuring downtime and disruption are kept to a minimum. For example, the use of ULV disinfectant fogging technology enables sanitising treatment of large areas in a short space of time. Foggers generate a mist formed of Ultra Low Volume (ULV) droplets, measuring 5-50 microns (μm) in diameter. The small particles can hang in the air long enough to tackle airborne as well as surface pathogens, and are also able to land underneath, on top and on the sides of surfaces, where they can come into contact with unwanted microbes that might otherwise be missed by manual cleaning methods.

Protecting employees from viruses
Viruses like Norovirus and influenza, and other unwelcome microorganisms can be transmitted through direct contact with people who are infected, or through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. Norovirus in particular, has a low infectious dose, which means it can spread quickly in areas with large numbers of people. This is particularly true in factory premises with many employees, making it difficult to contain the illness.

There are steps both businesses and facilities managers can take to maximise their chances of them, their colleagues and their customers staying healthy all year round.
Advice for employers
  • Promote good hand hygiene standards – ensure your staff are washing their hands regularly and properly and that hand sanitisers are readily available
  • Thorough cleaning in communal areas – shared kitchen and washroom facilities, as well as factory hot-spots should undergo daily cleaning as well as a professional ‘deep-clean’ at least twice a year
  • Try using plants in the office and around desks as a physical barrier against airborne germs
  • In the event of an outbreak of Norovirus, influenza or other illness, call in professionals to conduct a deep-clean
  • High footfall makes corridors and common areas germ hotspots so concentrate cleaning efforts in these areas
  • Air disinfection units will help to reduce airborne microorganisms and can significantly reduce odours, while scenting products will help mask low levels of malodour.
Advice for employees
  • Practice good hygiene – thorough hand washing after going to the bathroom and before preparing food is extremely important. It is recommended that you should wash your hands for the same length of time it takes to sing happy birthday twice (approximately 30 seconds). Cleaning your working area regularly also reduces the level of germs in the office
  • Try not to share items such as tea towels when using communal areas. These items can be home to high levels of bacteria and are often not cleaned regularly. Good alternatives include using tissue or hand towel dispensers
  • If you suspect you have Norovirus, notify your work and do not return until 48 hours after the last symptoms have disappeared. 
Luke Rutterford is the technical manager for Rentokil Specialist Hygiene and Dr Peter Barratt works for Initial Washroom Hygiene.