How to Get Kids Back in School Safely & Healthier Than Ever

By Jameka Carter

As schools start to reopen, the health and safety of the children have become a top priority. Many schools are starting back up virtually, but plan to bring students back into buildings soon. However, parents are concerned about sending their children to school during a pandemic and want to know what changes will be made to ensure their safety. Teaching kids about healthy habits starts at home, but it doesn’t have to end there. Schools play an important role in educating students as well. By promoting good hygiene, providing hand washing programs and installing proper cleaning supplies, schools can educate and equip children for healthier habits.

Schools must prove they are doing everything they can to keep students safe and healthy while in their care.

40% of parents worry their children will suffer from a lack of hygiene at school. Their parental concerns are based on their children’s experience. 86% of school children avoid using the toilets at school, and nearly half of all parents point to unhygienic conditions at the cause. As the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Schools must prove they are doing everything they can to keep students safe and healthy while in their care. By insisting that school bathrooms and individual classrooms be properly cleaned and sufficiently supplied with soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer, parents can allay their children’s fears, reduce health-related absenteeism, and create a more relaxed, confident and productive learning environment.

People are aware that handwashing is important, but they don’t make it a habit. It’s time to start teaching students how to wash their hands. Fortunately, teaching handwashing isn’t something schools need to take on alone. There are many programs to help educate children about hand hygiene, from Global Handwashing Day to handwashing programs pointed out by the Center for Disease Control.

Fewer illnesses mean fewer trips to the doctor, less use of antibiotics, and more time in class.

Handwashing can reduce illnesses and keep kids in school. A recent study shows that kindergartners and first graders in the U.S. are chronically absent more than 10% of days within a school year. The report goes on to say that “students who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are much less likely to read at a grade level by third grade – which makes them four times more likely to drop out of school.” When children are taught how to properly wash their hands, fewer illnesses will occur. Fewer illnesses mean fewer trips to the doctor, less use of antibiotics, and more time in class.

Imperial Dade offers quality hand hygiene and restroom supplies from top manufactures including Essity, creators of this infographic available for download. Contact your Imperial Dade Representative today for a restroom site survey and product recommendations. Visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.

Hiring, Training & Rewarding Employees During COVID-19 (and Beyond)

A discussion with 3 industry leaders

By Vickie Holland

We recently had a round robin discussion with three Jan-San industry leaders. We asked them to weigh in on hiring, training and rewarding employees. We also asked how COVID-19 is changing these processes. Not surprisingly, there was some interesting overlap on the responses. The comments below have been lightly edited for clarity.

What changes are needed in your hiring process during COVID-19

Joseph Patrick Gaither (JPG):  Prior to the outbreak we had been moving to a paperless process and other than the in-person interview had successfully transitioned the process to be online. Moving forward we will conduct all interviews online. Although we feel that you lose some of the personal touch with this approach it is necessary to ensure the safety of our staff.

Melissa Usher (MU):  Arthur Jackson had to make a quick transition in becoming more remote and electronically accessible to our new incoming talent. Pre-COVID, our corporate recruiter would partner with management to hold in-person interviews either at the corporate office or in our client buildings. We would facilitate at least 2 large in-person new hire orientations at the corporate office. We no longer hold new hire orientation in-person. We had to move our interview process to over the phone or Zoom calls. New hire orientation paperwork has moved to DocuSign.

Judy David (JD) We are currently in a hiring freeze.  If we do get permission to hire, we will do screenings online, but in-person interviews will be with just a couple of people, as opposed to the panel style we typically use.   We’ll have to social distance and wear masks throughout.  We’ll also try to make it as paperless as possible. Right now, my focus is more on delivering the necessary disinfection with our current staff.

What are the 3 traits you look for when hiring new custodians?

JD: Some important traits to look for include strong work ethic, dependability, positive attitude and willingness to learn.

JPG: The three traits I value most are #1-Dependability: sustained employment, the ability to maintain professional employment, #2 Work ethic: understanding why we are all here- this is usually a topic of discussion during the work history conversation and #3- Genuine: someone that is honest or sincere. Nobody in our profession is perfect. I look for a staff member that can recognize an issue and engage in problem solving or solutions. But that won’t happen unless we can recognize issues and have that dialogue. I prefer a candidate that is genuine and not constantly trying to sell themselves.

MU: The traits we look for in any new custodian would be attitude/personality, work ethic and work history.

How do you keep your employees motivated?

MU: Motivation starts with the manager or supervisor at the work site. They get to know each of their employees and what makes them tick. They empower their employees by allowing them to have responsibility and flexibility over their day to day tasks. Our managers reward a job well done with pizza parties (as one example). 

JD: I have been known to sometimes dress in costume to motivate our team. I try to make it fun, no pride! Food is also a great motivator! Team breakfasts are great. I had a past program where I hid a note in an area to be cleaned. First custodian to find the note won “Lunch with Judy”. I loved this reward because I was able to sit down and have a quiet one on one chat with an employee and really get to know them. Handwritten thank you notes go a long way. We also like to reward and recognize employees with a leadership position.

JPG: Positive reinforcement! If you don’t recognize the behavior you want, you will get the behavior you recognize. We also do a lot of little things throughout the course of the year to celebrate milestones or recognize a job well done with lunches or water ice in the summer. Honestly the best practice is to be approachable and accessible to the staff, every day. When you walk the buildings always recognize your team members, compliment their work, thank them for showing up every day and doing a good job. Take 2 minutes out of your day to talk with them and see how they are doing, that small recognition and appreciation really goes a long way.

Any suggestions for Employee Safety during COVID-19?

MU: Be mindful of your PPE (do not wear your mask below your nose or on your chin), keep up on your hand washing hygiene, keep your distance, if sick, stay home. We are so focused on COVID that many employees are forgetting their other safety training. I highly recommend sending out safety tips and self-care reminders to your managers and front-line employees.

JPG:  We have been preaching universal precautions since the beginning of the outbreak. A great deal of the information related to the pandemic has been fluid, so early on we tried to prepare with an overabundance of caution. The advice I give to our staff is to treat their PPE as an essential tool necessary to perform their job, like a broom or a microfiber rag. PPE has always been essential to our organization, but in the last six months there is a greater focus and expectation from our employees and customers that we have been engaged in almost daily.

JD:  Wear your masks, don’t touch your face and wash your hands.  Wash them every time you take your gloves off.  Wash them before you take a break.  Wash them at the end of your shift.  Wash them because you pass a sink.  Universal precautions are as important now as ever.  If we don’t stay healthy, how can we keep everyone else healthy?  Also, did I mention you should wash your hands?

Imperial Dade offers free training programs to customers. Contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit http://www.imperialdade.com for a location near you.

Counterfeit Cleaning Products on the Rise During COVID-19

Hand sanitizers. Disinfectant wipes. Household chemical cleaners and so much more.

All of the different types of cleaning products that were readily available to consumers just a few short months ago are now nearly impossible to find at your local supermarket or wholesale stores. This shortage is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus that caused a worldwide panic also left a hole in the cleaning products supply chain, one that counterfeiters have taken advantage of by introducing poor quality products to the marketplace.

As COVID-19 intensified in early spring, shoppers flooded the stores in search of essential supplies and cleaned out all of the aisles of cleaning products and protective equipment. Commercial cleaning chemical demands also skyrocketed. With no supplies left in stores, fraudulent companies began marketing fake “brand-name” products on some online sites. These counterfeit cleaners are not tested and approved by trusted government sources, so they don’t actually “kill 99.99% of germs” like they claim to. Buyers who have been tricked into purchasing counterfeit products are still left exposed to bacteria, germs, and viruses.

On the other hand, genuine cleaning products are subject to vigorous testing by different government agencies, depending on their intended use. For example, disinfectants that claim to kill harmful bacteria are considered pesticides and, therefore, must register any active ingredients with the EPA and meet strict labeling requirements. Industrial general-purpose cleaners must also abide by the Hazardous Communication Standard and meet OSHA labeling requirements. Federal regulation ensures that chemical cleaners are not only safe to use, but also as effective as they claim to be.

 As a buyer of commercial or household chemicals, how can you identify between a genuine and fraudulent product?

Only purchase brand-name products from a reputable distributor or retailer. Make sure any disinfectants have an EPA registration number listed on the label. This number is proof that the product has been tested and approved by the EPA for use. If the label doesn’t carry a registration number, it may be counterfeit.

To make purchasing the right disinfectants easier for everyone, the EPA has created a simple online tool that identifies which disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. All you have to do is launch the application, found here, and input the initial two parts of the registration number. The program will display important information, including contact time and efficacy for emerging pathogens.

Once you have purchased an EPA-approved cleaner, make sure you’re using it correctly by following these steps:

Imperial Dade - Cleaning Instructions Updated 2

As always, if you have any questions regarding your cleaning products or techniques, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our chemical specialists at Imperial Dade. From Victoria Bay Peroxide Disinfectant Cleaner to Spin and Span Disinfecting All-Purpose Spray, we can help you find the best solution to stay safe. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation. For a location near you visit our website.

COVID-19 Resources from Imperial Dade

Imperial Dade has been serving the restaurant and lodging industries for over 80 years. We are committed to helping our partners work through the challenges of creating a safe and healthy environment as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The following are various resources available for download or accessible via link. Included are new and innovative products designed specifically to solve challenges related to social distancing, forensic cleaning, and safety. Best practices and guidelines for re-opening are also part of the collection.

We will continue to add more content in the weeks to come. We encourage you to revisit this page on a weekly basis.

Imperial Dade is the largest independent distributor of foodservice packaging, janitorial supplies, and equipment in the United States. We have experts on staff in the fields of infection prevention, food safety, warewashing and laundry, and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit our website.

CDC Reopening Guidance for Businesses

OSHA Reopening Guidance for Businesses

NRA Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants

P&G Reopening Guidance for Hotels & Restaurants

Social-Distancing Equipment: 

Non-contact Digital Thermometer:

Personal Protective Equipment:

EPA Registered Disinfectants:

Learn about the proper use of disinfectants in this video.

Learn about OSHA regulations pertaining to chemical spray bottles in this video.

Disinfectant Application Equipment (lead times range from 4-12 weeks)

Learn more about electrostatic cleaning in this article.

 

COVID-19 Resources from Imperial Dade

Imperial Dade has been serving the restaurant and lodging industries for over 80 years. We are committed to helping our partners work through the challenges of creating a safe and healthy environment as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The following are various resources available for download or accessible via link. Included are new and innovative products designed specifically to solve challenges related to social distancing, forensic cleaning, and safety. Best practices and guidelines for re-opening are also part of the collection.

We will continue to add more content in the weeks to come. We encourage you to revisit this page on a weekly basis.

Imperial Dade is the largest independent distributor of foodservice packaging, janitorial supplies, and equipment in the United States. We have experts on staff in the fields of infection prevention, food safety, warewashing and laundry, and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit our website.

To schedule a personal consultation, please contact us and we’ll have a representative respond as quickly as possible.

CDC Reopening Guidance for Businesses

OSHA Reopening Guidance for Businesses

NRA Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants

P&G Reopening Guidance for Hotels & Restaurants

Social-Distancing Equipment: 

Non-contact Digital Thermometer:

Personal Protective Equipment:

EPA Registered Disinfectants:

Learn about the proper use of disinfectants in this video.

Learn about OSHA regulations pertaining to chemical spray bottles in this video.

Disinfectant Application Equipment (lead times range from 4-12 weeks)

Learn more about electrostatic cleaning in this article.

 

Once “stay-at-home” is over, do you have a “back-to-work” plan?

By Vickie Holland

Hopefully in the next few weeks the stay-at-home orders will be over and we can all get back to work. After months of working from home (WFH) employees will return to the office. As we make this transition, all employers will be faced with the same challenge: keeping their employees safe.

Employee safety should be the #1 priority when creating your “back-to-work” plan.  According to the National Safety Council (NSC), employees who feel safe in the workplace, both physically and mentally, are less likely to call out or quit. While there are many basic safety principles that should be considered, here are several to add to your plan.

Next Level Social Distancing

When we need to run to the grocery store to pick up our dinner, we know to keep our distance of 6 feet. This distance can be challenging in the workplace.  Designating foot traffic flow as “one way” in tighter offices will help keep employees from passing too closely.  Many offices have placed cubicles close together to save on space. Others have created an open concept plan with long bench desks with multiple employees designed to promote collaboration. To limit these tight quarters, relocate employees to work at every other desk or space.  If employees must share workspaces, providing disposable wipes for disinfecting before and after using a shared area or equipment (computer/phone/copier) will be needed.

Flexibility

Staggering work hours or workdays helps with distancing. You may want to consider having employees return in waves. Some employees may not be ready; showing flexibility will help create a safe workplace. Staggering lunch and break times will help limit exposure as well as limiting the number of chairs in break rooms, cafeterias, and conference rooms. Speaking of conference rooms, move meetings to video conferencing or ask the question “is this meeting even necessary?”

Checking in with Employees- “Welcome Back”

As employees return to work it is important for their supervisors to check on employee’s mental health. Maybe they were sick or cared for a sick relative? Perhaps they lost a loved one to COVID-19? Did they experience any anxiety or depression during the crisis? If your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), remind every employee this service is available to support them during these difficult times.

Professional Disinfectant Cleaning

It has never been more important to be a professional cleaner. The safety and health of everyone depends on the custodians. While it is important to do the basic cleaning it is important to increase the cleaning frequency of the high touch points (break room furniture, copiers, fax machines, doors, light switches, etc.). If you do not have a no-touch disinfectant (NTD) program in place, now is the time to incorporate this into your SOP.  Imperial Dade’s Sales Consultants are the experts on NTD as well as which products meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2.  We can help you train returning custodians on new disinfecting procedures, products, and techniques.

 Touch-Free Workplace 

What areas in your workplace can be modified touch free? Lights, doors, wastebaskets, soap dispensers, towel dispensers, and automatic window shades are a few examples. What about voice activated systems instead of touch points (“Alexa, turn on the lights”)? Facial recognition instead of signing in? Sounds somewhat futuristic and costly but voice and facial recognition are quickly becoming the new normal.

 Reinforce Personal Protection and Safety

We are all in this together! Say goodbye to handshaking and hello to a simple yoga bow or wave. The CDC encourages prompting reminders of hand hygiene to employees with posters on best practices. Don’t forget when coughing to use tissues or cough into your sleeve. Other personal protection includes using cloth face covering, avoiding close contact, and not touching face/eyes.

Communicate these changes throughout your organization. Employees should be aware of the steps you have made to protect them from COVID-19.

Ask employees for feedback on these changes. Listen to suggestions. Employees often have creative solutions! They may have a fresh idea how you can go “touch free” in your organization.

For more information on Employee Safety, No Touch Disinfection or COVID-19 prevention in the workplace contact your local branch today and ask to speak to a chemical specialist. Visit www.imperialdade.com/locations to find a location near you.

Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 by Cleaning, Sanitizing, & Disinfecting Touchpoints & Other Surfaces

COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that has been devastating countries worldwide. Its most common symptoms include dry cough, high fever, and shortness of breath. As of this posting, all 50 states have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and many states, especially Washington, New York, and California, have been hard hit by a high number of deaths due to the virus and its side effects, primarily pneumonia.

While many organizations are having people work from home, it is imperative to continue to maintain facilities and keep all frequent touchpoints clean and disinfected as much as possible. The cleaning supplies, chemicals, and equipment available at Imperial Dade are necessary now more than ever to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Cleaning or Disinfecting? Know the Differences to Stay Healthy

When it comes to cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing surfaces, many people incorrectly believe that those terms and actions are interchangeable. While all three types of cleansing are effective and necessary, they have their specific uses and should not be treated as equally efficacious.

Cleaning

Cleaning is the first step to safe surfaces. It is, by definition, the removal of dirt, impurities, and some germs via soap and water or other surface cleaners. While cleaning surfaces with soap and water does reduce the number of germs on the surface and, thus, the risk of infection, remaining germs will continue to multiply.

Sanitizing

Another step for safer surfaces involves sanitizing. Sanitizing surfaces effectively reduces the number of harmful bacteria to safe levels according to most health standards and requirements. While sanitizing does kill approximately 99.99 percent of most types of bacteria, it does not kill or remove all viruses and fungi. In the current health climate, it is best to bypass surface sanitizers and head to the disinfectants after cleaning most surfaces.

Disinfecting

For the safest surfaces, use a disinfectant. Disinfecting surfaces involves using solutions that destroy or deactivate viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms after leaving the properly diluted solution on the surface for the stated dwell time, typically 10 minutes. Imperial Dade has many disinfecting solutions for commercial use, including Victoria Bay disinfectant sprays with EPA certifications and kill claims for emerging pathogens.

Common “Touchpoints” Requiring Cleaning & Disinfecting

As mentioned above, COVID-19 is a highly contagious and infectious disease, so surfaces used frequently by many people are considered high-risk touchpoints. The majority of individuals in the U.S. carrying COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning that they will not show symptoms but could still transmit the virus onto surfaces they have touched or on which their respiratory droplets (through coughing or sneezing) have landed.

Here are a few of the most common touch that should be disinfected in commercial and residential buildings:

ImperialDade_IG 

For more information regarding how to best prevent the spread of COVID-19, review Imperial Dade’s recent posts or contact your local branch today and ask to speak to a chemical specialist. Visit www.imperialdade.com/locations to find a location near you.

10 Steps to Going Green!

By Vickie Holland

You may have been told to “green” your facility or “We’re going green”.  This may have immediately raised questions for you, your staff, and your customers. Where do we start? What will this cost? When does this happen? How do we know if we missed anything?

Our Greensafe Program is designed to help you understand what “going green” really means and where to start.

10 Steps to Going Green

  • Conserve Energy: Turn off computers, lights, and printers when not in use. Use LED light bulbs.
  • Implement a Comprehensive Recycling Program: Place recycling containers for ease of recycling paper, plastics, and other materials.
  • Reduce Waste: Print less paper by going digital. Conserve water.
  • Use Green Cleaning Products: Switch to third-party certified green chemicals. If possible, use a dilution control system which reduces waste.
  • Use Sustainable Cleaning Tools: Microfiber mops and dusters reduce chemical use.
  • Use Proper Matting: Control soiling near the building entrances saves time and money and protects your floors.
  • Use Green Cleaning Equipment: Select CRI certified vacuum cleaners with optimal filtration to provide best indoor air quality.
  • Use Green Towels and Tissue: Switch to  third-party certified green products.
  • Use Green Trash Liners: Proper sizing reduces waste and save money. Use liners with third-party certification.
  • Train Employees: Train employees on proper equipment use and correct cleaning procedures to reduce cost and improve safety.

If you need to meet the requirements of LEED Certification, we can help. If you need to switch your entire program tomorrow or take the first step, we can help.

Please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit our website to learn more about the following services:

  • Greensafe cleaning program including site surveys, consultation, and product selection
  • Cleaning chemical dilution-control systems with third-party certified products
  • EcoLogo, Safer Choice, Green Seal, UL Certified, and EPA Compliant product offerings from major manufacturers
  • Carpet & Rug Institute Green Label Certified equipment from major equipment manufacturers
  • Complete custodial green cleaning training programs

Great Training Leads to Janitor Pride

By Jennifer Jaworski

Have you thought about the impact a janitor has on a building? Properly trained janitors keep your occupants and visitors healthy with the work they do. Producing a successful cleaning operation starts with the supervisor and/or trainer. This is where your janitorial staff looks for guidance and leadership within their position. Here are some ideas to increase janitor pride in your workplace.

Properly Train Janitors

It’s important to take enough time to train correctly, including explaining all safety precautions. Give examples and answer all questions when they arise. We all know training can become repetitive and unexciting – find ways to make it interactive and fun. Additional materials should be available for staff to review on their own.

Promote Green Cleaning

The key to green cleaning success is training your janitorial staff to use effective cleaning methods that reduce environmental impact and promote sustainability. By including various resources that combine traditional approaches with new tools and practices, you can ensure that janitorial operations will be effective. Green cleaning products have also been proven to be safer for your janitors as they have fewer chemical sensitivities.

Improve Productivity

Building strong staff skills doesn’t stop after your training programs are complete. Encourage janitors to continue developing their expertise and show your appreciation for those who shine in their work. Trainers can increase the self-esteem of their janitors, leading to the improvement of cleaning quality and productivity.

Imperial Dade can help you design a training program for your cleaning staff. Contact your representative today or visit us at http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you. 

 

 

SAFETY CHECKLIST: 6 POINTS OF PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT (PPE)

By Vickie Holland

Ask any employee and they will know that wearing gloves is the first line of protection in worker safety. But does everyone know that employee safety involves more than just wearing gloves?  Wearing the proper equipment minimizes exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. Employers are also required to train each worker who is required to use personal protective equipment (commonly referred to as “PPE”) to know:

  • When it is necessary
  • What kind is necessary
  • How to properly put it on, adjust it, wear it and take it off
  • The limitations of the equipment
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the equipment

All PPE should be comfortable to wear to encourage employee use. It should be safely designed, clean and well maintained. Here are 6 points of PPE that are designed to limit injury exposure to your employees.

  1. FACE PROTECTION

Goggles should always be worn, and workers should also consider face shields. This is true if working near stored chemicals, large mechanical equipment, mixing cleaning chemicals or similar hazards.

  1. HEARING PROTECTION

Hearing loss is becoming one of the most common occupational health hazards in a variety of industries, including professional cleaning. OSHA requires ear plugs/coverings to be worn if workers are exposed to “average” decibel exposure (about 85 decibels) for eight hours or longer.

  1. PROPER HAND PROTECTION

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), each year more than a million workers visit emergency rooms due to hand injuries. Of these workers, 70 percent weren’t wearing gloves or were not wearing the right glove. We can help workers select the proper hand protection for a variety of cleaning tasks.

  1. BACK SUPPORT

An estimated 20 percent of all workplace injuries are injuries to the back. Different types of back belts are available to address this problem. Studies indicate that installing posters advising workers on how to work without harming their backs can be very effective.

  1. FOOT PROTECTION

Many cleaning workers go to work without giving a second thought to the shoes they wear. This often leads to an accident. Work shoes and protective overshoes are available to protect workers from slipping, falling objects, even electrocution.

  1. BODY PROTECTION

The main purpose of wearing PPE for the body is protection from chemicals, heat, sparks, infectious material or other hazardous substances during work activities. Wearing the proper protection will reduce injuries and keep employees safe. Rips, tears or other defects should be reported to the supervisor immediately and not worn by employee.

For more information on PPE ask your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit us at http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.