A helping hand for hygiene

Paul Casson, Technical Field Manager at Rentokil Specialist Hygiene, and Jamie Woodhall, UK Technical & Innovation Manager at Initial Washroom Hygiene, show how you can use technology to transform your premises into a hygiene haven.

For facility managers – particularly those working in catering – the final few weeks of summer will likely see a flurry of holidaymakers, parents and children coming through their doors looking to make the most of their remaining time off. While the high footfall is welcome, sometimes cleaning regimes are put on the back-burner after a busy few months and this could allow bacteria to manifest, especially in warmer conditions.

September marks an important time in the calendar for a proper review of deep cleaning regimes, ensuring facilities are hygienic and fit for the autumn and winter period. It’s often a good idea to consult hygiene specialists, who’ll have access to a plethora of cleaning equipment to ensure the job is done efficiently and to the highest standard possible to set your business up ready for the pre-Christmas rush.

Here, we discuss the specialist equipment these technicians use as well as the technologies that can be installed by facilities managers around the premises on a more permanent basis to ensure cleanliness is front-of-mind for all.

Establish a cleaning schedule

For any establishment, priority number one is to ensure there is a regular cleaning regime in place. This starts with identifying key areas that need frequent attention, including door handles, surface tops and any communal areas with shared touch points. A formalised cleaning plan, with a regularly updated record or logbook, will ensure these planned cleans happen routinely throughout the day.

Once this is in place, it’s also important to book in a thorough deep clean with specialist technicians who are experts in tackling hard-to-reach and often forgotten areas. The required frequency of deep cleans depends on the industry in which you are operating. Food processing facilities may need to schedule around three to four per year given how regularly a kitchen area and its facilities are used – for example, ovens, ventilation units and drains all require regular deep cleans.

Front-of-house facilities or offices should undergo a deep clean at least twice a year. We recommend scheduling these to avoid peak periods, so just as the summer season has wound down would be the perfect time.

Professional cleaners will have access to specialist multi- purpose biocidal cleaners, which can decontaminate surfaces by killing bacteria, fungi, spores, yeasts and viruses. The deep clean should include a thorough disinfection of high frequency touch points, as well as moving all furniture or equipment away from the walls to make sure no areas are being missed from the regular cleaning routine.

46 | TECHNOLOGY Through the fog

As its name suggests, Ultra Low Volume (ULV) fogging is a specialist cleaning method which involves creating a mist of disinfectant that can be quickly applied to a large area. The disinfectant mist settles on top of, underneath and on the sides of objects, soft furnishings, furniture and hard-to- reach areas, offering maximum surface area coverage.

Studies have shown that fogging reduces the number of pathogens present when compared to manual surface cleaning alone. Using it in conjunction with routine and deep cleaning helps ensure that all areas are fully sanitised. Because of its effectiveness, fogging is often used in facilities where hygiene is critically important, such as care homes, large catering facilities and schools. Fogging also has a quick drying time, which means that the process causes minimum disruption to the daily running of a business.

High level cleaning

Cleaning those hard-to-reach areas can present unique challenges and safety risks, especially in areas which are high up. Specialist hygiene professionals have both the equipment and expertise to clean ceilings, lights, ducts and other inaccessible spaces. These technicians work to stringent health and safety standards and complete a thorough risk assessment before undertaking any cleaning operation.

When identifying which equipment to use, high level cleaners will consider the height of the area that requires cleaning and how confined the space is. Scissor lifts, cherry pickers and lift platforms can help reach heights from seven to 50 metres, providing access to areas which are too high to reach using a ladder. For more difficult, complex areas, mobile scaffolding and rope access can help with the job at hand, although these may require additional construction resources.

Jet washers, backpack vacuums, ATEX vacuums, wet and dry vacuums, water fed brushes and long-reach poles are also useful tools in a high-level cleaning technician’s armoury.

Don’t forget hand hygiene

While cleaning plays a vital role in creating hygienic premises, ensuring occupants play their part can be equally important: this starts with hand hygiene. Our hands are a natural breeding ground for germs and one of the principle carriers of harmful pathogens – in fact, 80% of infections are spread by hand.

Washrooms should be at the epicentre of good hygiene efforts. By limiting the number of shared touch points a person encounters within this communal area, touch-free technology can play a vital role in reducing the spread of

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