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 WashroomHygiene


What to considerwhen specifying washroomequipment


Trudi Osborne, marketing manager of Airdri Ltd, reviews the factors that should be considered for different washroom environments.


Providing a healthy, hygienic environment in which to work is crucial, for productivity, motivation, and infection control.Well- equipped washrooms can help enormously and facilitiesmanagers, architects and planners should give careful consideration to the end user when specifying equip- ment. A range of social issues need to be taken into account including noise and size of equipment for those that may be visually impaired or disabled.


Nuisance noise


Attention was recently drawn to this issue by Goldsmiths, University of London, which warned about the risks of loud noise from some high speed hand dryers and their impact on people with hearing and sight problems, and dementia sufferers. The World Health Organisation also highlights that excessive noise can seriously harm human health, affecting concentration, dis- rupting recreation, inducing stress, and causing cardiovascular harm. Many children find noisy appliances


frightening, and this can be particularly acute for children with autistic spectrum disorders - an estimated 133,500 in the UK alone according to the National Autistic Society. High performance hand dryers and other washroom equipment don’t have to be noisy. When choosing suitable equipment for the washroom, organisations should compare decibel levels and also review whether equipment has the Quiet Mark, which is an international mark of approval


High performance hand dryers and other washroom equipmentdon’t have to be noisy. When choosing suitable equipment for the washroom, organisations should compare decibel levels and also review whether equipmenthas the QuietMark, which is an international mark of approval from the UK Noise Abatement Society.


roller towels because there is no risk of cross-infection fromsoiled towels. Space also needs to be considered. If this


is limited, facilities can benefit fromthe in- stallation of slim, wall mounted dryers that do not protrude far from the wall, which will also enable better access for disabled users.


Wise investment


from the UK Noise Abatement Society. This encourages worldwide companies to include noise reduction when developing the design of machines and appliances used in everyday life. Details of products and industries that hold the Quiet Mark are available via its website at www.quietmark.com.


Being appropriate for the environment


Washroom systems must be tailored to suit their particular environment, which can vary enormously. Durable equipment is required in locations such as schools and hospitals where it will need to stand up to a significant amount of use. For a luxury hotel chain, style is key. Warm air hand dryers are ideal for heavy


traffic environments because they elimi- nate the cost of paper towels and the mess and waste they cause once soiled. They offer a hygienic alternative to paper and


Driving up washroom standards


Far too often buyers of cleaning and hygiene products are confronted with poor quality products that are not fit for purpose. Until they put the product to use it is difficult for buyers to know if they have been duped or short- changed. Established to tackle this problem of sharks in the industry, the CHSA’s Manufacturing Standards Ac- creditation Schemes for soft tissue, plastic refuse sacks, and industrial cotton mops solves this challenge by providing a stamp of approval buyers can trust. But more than this, the schemes are consistently driving up stan- dards. Key to improving quality within every manufacturer is the capability and respect of the internal quality control


expert. The true value of quality control professionals within a manufacturer is never more apparent than during a visit from the auditor of the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers’ Association’s Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme, Gordon Butt. He visits members annually to test variations, tolerance, width, length, diameter, paper quality and perforations in soft tissue and for plastic refuse sacks to assess if they match the ‘fit for purpose’ specifications. While members’ policies and procedures are aligned and have the full support of management, there may be deficiencies. The key is to understand why and how to correct them. The most common problem is machine operators responding to a particular issue with a little minor adjustment and being ignorant of the pos- sible wider consequences of their action. Working in collaboration, Gordon Butt and the quality control experts can fix the problems and educate the workforce on the consequences of their actions. The net effect is higher quality product. The Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes are also driving up standards through their reputation. It’s


known in the industry that the schemes’ logos stamped on packaging means buyers will be getting exactly what they pay for. Plastic refuse sacks will be fit for their advertised purpose and soft tissue products will be the right length and width. To benefit from this certainty, organisations are increasingly demanding their suppliers meet the CHSA’s standards. For example, the number of local authorities specifying the schemes during 2013 has shot up significantly. While this progress is to be celebrated, there is no room for complacency. The CHSA continues to act in order to


drive up standards with initiatives such as its open offer to audit the products of distributors, cleaning contrac- tors, facilities managers and other buyers of cleaning and hygiene products. It is also arguing the case for im- proved standards amongst politicians, lobbying in Westminster on behalf of its members. www.chsa.co.uk


26 l C&M l DECEMBER 2013 l www.cleaninghub.net


Ongoing cost calculations should be built in at the design stage with regards to cleaning and maintenance. Hand dryers are a good option for school settings, as paper towels can get strewn across wash- room floors or even thrown down the toilet. Supplies of paper towels need to be con- stantly replenished - a risk that is elimi- nated when hand dryers are installed. Companies should compare the cost


performance of competing products against a number of criteria including power consumption, ease of servicing, and life expectancy. For example, the longer a dryer’s life, the lower the cost per dry and the better the return on investment.


Environmental impact


High speed hand dryers are not just effi- cient but they are better for the environ- ment too. They use less energy than is required in themanufacture of paper tow- els. However, energy efficiency is not the only environmental aspect to be consid- ered when purchasing a hand dryer. Power consumption, life expectancy and noise all have an impact on the carbon footprint of a dryer and should be considered when in- vesting in new products.


Health and safety, and user comfort


A study into the bacteria count on hands from equipment showed that the Geomet- ric Mean of the Aerobic bacteria found on the surface of a Jet Air Dryer was 1,84 E+06 (which means 1849000 - one million eight hundred thousand). This was consid- erably higher than the bacteria count on the surface of warmair hand dryers. Added to that, some jet style dryers will leave soapy residue on the walls and blast the water out causing potential hazards from slips and trips. In addition, some cold air dryers can give you a feeling similar to rheumatism as you dry your hands and are, therefore, not pleasant for the end user.


Financial rewards


Organisations should also investigate whether they can benefit from any financial rewards from investing in sustainable equipment. For example, the UK govern- ment’s Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme,managed by the Carbon Trust, encourages businesses to invest in energy saving technologies by rewarding them with an accelerated tax break against the purchase of verified products included on its Energy Technology Product List. www.airdri.com


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