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 Training&Education

Training and education: more thanmeets the eye

Thomas Stuecken, chairman of OspreyDeepclean, discusses why competency based staff training is equally as essential as the correct methodology.

OspreyDeepclean has conducted its own

Training and education within the cleaning sector is amanagement tool that can be used to reduce costs and improve the effi- cacy and time efficiency of cleaning tasks - but is often seen as a necessary evil. The British Institute of Cleaning Science

(BICSc) advocates the need for training and education, although I suggest that cleaning itself it not a science butmore an opera- tional task that can be very subjective. For example, what is clean? One person’s stan- dard of cleanliness is unlikely to be exactly the same as another. In its obvious form, the term‘cleaning’ relates to any task in- volving cleanliness. Cleaning tasksmight be within an office environment (where it is not uncommon to have to clean 600-1000sq metres every hour) to cleaning within a healthcare setting or food processing area where cleaning is often referred to as ‘sani- tation’ or ‘decontamination’. There is little doubt that the standards of cleanliness be- tween the two environments will also differ hugely.

When trying to achieve cleaner hospital environments, transparency and good communication is as vital to success as is competency-based staff training. The studies conducted by OspreyDeepclean concluded that a cleaner hospital environment can be achieved through the utilisation of the correct methodology of cleaning combined with competency- based staff training.

Recent news articles, specifically target-

ing the healthcare sector, report that even themost low tech cleaning devices such as disinfectant wipes - specifically designed to eradicateMRSA in hospitals - have been found to be actually helping to spread the deadly superbugs because staff are using themto cleanmore than one surface (pre- sentation to the American Society ofMicro- biology, generalmeeting, Boston, Dr GarethWilliams,Wales School of Phar- macy, Cardiff University). Is this a failure of material and insufficient research, or is it themethod, training and a lack of general knowledge? Or is it a combination of both? It is therefore absolutely vital that cleaning staff aremade aware of the reasoning be- hind each cleaning task and the standards required, whether it’s to simply ensure a vi- sually clean environment or to achieve a pathogen free environment. The operative must then be fully trained in themethods and technologies to enable themto achieve the required results and standards.

Funding available for cleaning qualifications

Over the last few years there has been a steady decline in the availability of funding for workplace skills, but WAMITAB has recently announced that it has secured funding through the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) for a suite of hands-on qualifications for those already working or preparing to work in the cleaning industry in England. The WAMITAB suite of Practical Cleaning Qualifications for Cleaning Operatives is listed in the latest SFA fund-

ing catalogue and funding is now available to draw down. There are 14 separate two-unit Level 1 awards that are specifically designed to deliver the everyday skills of cleaners at work. The general unit - ‘Prepare for work in the cleaning industry’ - is common across all the awards, and is combined with other specialist units that focus on a variety of cleaning tasks: food areas and appliances; refuse chute; buff floor surfaces; furniture, fixtures and fit- tings; hard floor surfaces; bodily fluids, spillages and hazardous items; bathrooms; interior walls and windows; stairs and landings; suction clean floor surfaces; dry sweep and damp mop floors; guest rooms and public areas; emulsion floor polish; and washrooms. It is important to note that where candidates have already achieved the ‘Prepare for work in the cleaning indus-

try qualification it cannot then be funded again as part of further cleaning awards. However, since each award is separately specified, candidates can be funded for units covering additional skill areas. Effectively, this means that candidates can be funded to achieve all of the cleaning skills they need for their job role. This is great news for the industry where managing costs and proficient service delivery is a very tight balance. Chris James, CEO of WAMITAB, said: “We urge you to make use of the funding for this suite of cleaning qualifi-

cations as it has been hard won, and we are keen to see that the industry gets the maximum benefit from its availability.”

22 l C&M l NOVEMBER 2014 l

studies with the University College of Lon- don Hospitals (UCLH) and TNO (the largest, independent scientific research facility in the Netherlands) which both identified that healthcare equipment itself is very often themost likely source of nosocomial infec- tions in hospitals. Other research published in the Journal of Hospital Infection (2006 63,239-245) indicates that up to a third of all HCAIsmay be preventable simply by ad- equately cleaning hospital equipment. Re- views were conducted which aimed to systematically determine the level of con- tamination on hospital equipment. This led to the identification of viable cleaning pro- tocols and themethodical quality of current evidence was established. The same study published in the Journal of Hospital Infec- tion reported that 86.8%of all sample equipment was contaminated. One of the most important outputs of this study is that the question ‘how clean is clean?’ can be effectively determined andmeasured for specific cleaning tasks. New validation tools such as ATP biolu-

minescence are now available and are often used in hospital areas to achieve the required cleaning results. It is also impor- tant that competency-based staff training be linked to standard operating procedures (SOPs). For each cleaning task there should be: • Clear, written instructions detailing the objectives. • The frequency of the task. • The equipment to be used. • Themethod in which the equipment is to be used including the cleaning and safe storage of cleaning equipment. Thismust be given in conjunction with standard health and safety information regarding the use of the equipment in its given environ- ment. Generally, infection control nurses and

microbiological staff are verymuch aware of the reasoning behind the cleaning of cer- tain areas and how frequently thismust be done, but cleaning operators themselves are not always aware of this same informa- tion and are therefore not always aware of the reasons behind the stringent approach to cleaning. It is therefore absolutely vital to identify the risks (HACCP) in any healthcare environment and to prioritise the necessary preventative actions to achieve the desired results. When trying to achieve cleaner hospital

environments, transparency and good com- munication is as vital to success as is com- petency-based staff training. The studies conducted by OspreyDeepclean concluded that a cleaner hospital environment can be achieved through the utilisation of the cor- rectmethodology of cleaning combined with competency-based staff training.

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