5 Ergonomic Janitorial Tools

By Vickie Holland

Many work-related injuries are internal and occur after months or years of exposure to lifting, bending, reaching, twisting, turning and generally repeating the same tasks over and over. These conditions can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, muscle strains, lower back pains and more.

According to the US Department of Labor, these types of injuries, known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost of restricted work time.

MOST COMMON AREAS CAUSING WORKER INJURY AND ILLNESS

  • Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching, or stretching
  • Repetitive motion
  • Working in awkward positions
  • Sitting or standing for prolonged period
  • Vibrations from equipment (vacuums/buffers)

 The good news is many work-related injuries can be prevented by reducing workers’ risks. Daily communication between supervisors and their teams will pinpoint any problem areas. For example, simply adding an employee rotation to a repetitive task can help reduce injuries. Companies can also invest in ergonomic products to improve efficiencies while avoiding muscle strains and other injuries.

 5 ERGONOMIC ITEMS FOR YOUR JANITORS’ CLOSET

  1. Microfiber Flat Mops – If you are still using string wet mops, we urge you to give flat mopping a try. String mops get heavy. Ask any custodian who’s had to rinse one out after a long shift. Microfiber mops are thinner and lighter than string mops. Their lightweight design is much easier on the lower back when moving over several hours.
  2. Ergonomic Handles – Do you use a handle for tasks that require pushing, pulling, reaching, and stretching? If you answered yes, you need an ergonomic handle. These handles are designed with bends to minimize the force and leverage required for smooth mopping. Some have unique handle grips that swivel avoiding wrist strain. Many handles can be adjusted in length based on the task, reducing the user’s effort. Don’t forget; the longer the handle, the heavier it will feel!
  3. Material Handling – Employing dollies, flatbeds, utility, and janitor carts for easier transporting will help with awkward loads and improve efficiencies. Dollies are not just for brutes. Dollies are also available for Slim Jim containers with an ergonomic foot pedal release. New Utility Carts have ergonomic adjustable handles for maximum comfort. Janitor cares are lightweight and have proper space for tools and equipment to glide along floors and carpets.
  4. Vented Brutes & Slim Jims –Rubbermaid Commercial Products improved their refuse line by adding venting channels to their Brute and Slim Jim Containers. These venting channels make removing liners from the container up to 80% easier, improving productivity and reducing the risk of worker injury.
  5. Ergonomic Cleaning Equipment – Backpack vacuum users have more neutral position compared to an upright vacuum user. The custodian’s legs and large back muscles are doing most of the work. The arms of an upright vacuum custodian are more likely to be easily fatigued. Walk-Behind Floor Scrubbers are easy to operate. Many units, like the Focus II Boost, have an ergonomic design using orbital scrubbing actions to produce high speed agitation. This allows for less water and chemicals to be used.

For more ergonomic equipment ideas please reach out to your Sales Consultant or visit www.imperialdade.com.

5 Best Labor-Saving S.T.E.P.S

By: Vickie Holland

Labor costs can add up fast! Today’s organizations are continually searching for new and creative ways to save. Here are 5 Labor Saving S.T.E.P.S that will save you money and help increase your bottom line.

  1. SAFETY: All employees are entitled to a safe workplace. Personal protective equipment “PPE” should be included in all training programs to protect the employee from injuries. Risk exposure factors include lifting heavy items, bending, reaching, pushing and pulling, and performing repetitive tasks. Another great practice in protecting employees is investing in ergonomic equipment or tools. Some good examples are the Backpack Vac and Victoria Bay’s Bucketless Mop. These tools are designed to be more efficient by requiring fewer trips back and forth to refill chemicals and avoids bending, lifting and tripping hazards. Both are ergonomically engineered to minimize strain injuries that can occur with repeated use.
  2. TRAINING: Training reduces overall costs and improves performance. In addition to saving on hiring and on-boarding costs, training promotes consistency throughout the organization, leading to increases in efficiency and improved performance. Training provides an excellent path for your team to adopt new methods or technology. For example, are you using team or zone cleaning? Team cleaning is a more modern approach that allows the custodian to focus on one specific task (for example vacuuming or dusting). This strategy will save time and has proven easier to supervise.
  3. EQUIPMENT: When is the last time your company purchased new equipment? Newer equipment is designed to increase employee productivity by helping your team to work faster, smarter and safer. Having the right equipment for the job will maximize efficiencies, allow employees time for other projects and ultimately save on your labor costs.  One valuable and affordable investment is a micro-scrubber. Micro-scrubbers are smaller pieces of equipment designed to pick up more soil than a traditional mop bucket. Their smaller footprint reduces the risk of slips and fall injuries. These machines are easy to maneuver and can scrub small congested areas, increasing efficiency. We recommend the Windsor Micro-Scrubber or the Clarke Vantage Auto Scrubber.
  4. PROCUREMENT: Your purchasing habits can have a huge effect on your bottom line. Think about all the steps involved in procurement: taking inventory, placing an order, checking the order in on delivery, putting away the supplies, reconciling the packing slip and invoice, preparing and mailing payment. Limiting the number of orders placed will allow for more time to be spent on the things that add value; for example, cleaning, disinfecting or maintaining your facility. Also, having the correct item in stock when you need it is crucial. Wasting time sourcing product at the last minute is counter-productive, stressful and time consuming.
  5. SUSTAINING FLOORS: So much time and labor is spent finishing your floors to a dazzling shine and maintaining spotless carpets. Are you pulling out all the stops to sustain your efforts? Simple steps will keep your carpets and hard floors looking great. Our #1 recommendation is investing in entrance matting. Not only does matting help keep your workplace safe from slips, trips and falls, matting helps to keep dirt and moisture out of your building.  Another excellent way to keep your floors looking bright and glossy is to use chair protectors. Chair protectors protect floor surfaces from scratches and preserve floor finishes.

 

We can schedule a time to tour your facility and understand your cleaning challenges. Our expert Sales Consultants can recommend the best equipment, products, training programs, and procurement solutions based on your needs.

Visit http://www.imperialdade.com and contact us today!

Expert Interview – Safety & Savings Through Chemical Management

CMS Dispensers New LabelsFor this expert interview Laura Craven, a member of the marketing team, spoke with one of the many experienced professionals here at Imperial Dade. Lynn Miller, Orlando Branch Chemical Manager, has worked in the janitorial industry for over 35 years including 18 years with Imperial Dade.

Laura: Tell me about your role? What does a Chemical Manager do?

Lynn: I love my job as Chemical Manager. I work alongside our sales consultants, assisting them in developing solutions for their customers. For example, in one of our grocery chain accounts we created customized cleaning programs for each department. We trained their staff on proper procedures helping them maintain a clean, safe and appealing store. In addition to the hands-on training we also provided written manuals and tools to ensure that the programs were consistent across all store locations. I enjoy the interaction with both management and employees when they grasp the concepts of the training. We are helping them be more successful and that is really rewarding.

Lynn: I also love to solve problems. A cleaning contractor called me just the other day to just tell me how much time and money he saved on a very large job after installing the chemical management system that I had recommended.

Laura: Please describe a chemical management system.

Lynn: It is the best thing since sliced bread! A chemical management system, or CMS, is an automated dispensing system that controls the precise amount of chemical concentrate mixed with water in reusable spray bottles. The system can be set up with multiple products depending on the cleaning needs of the customer.

Laura: What are some of the benefits of this type of system?

Lynn: Safety is a big one. Because the mixing is done automatically, there is no “glugging” of chemicals from one bottle to the next which can pose risks in improper dilution ratios as well as spills. Some people think that if some is good, more is better. That is not true! Using too much concentrate can make the product less effective, damage surfaces and can create health risks. Everything in a quality CMS should be color-coded with corresponding product numbers and names. The system should also include instructional wall charts and manuals making it very easy to use.

Lynn: Cost is another important factor. The CMS chemicals are super-concentrates, reducing the expensive shipping of water and excess packaging.

Laura: That is a more sustainable program as well. Reduced packaging and transportation, both of which have a big impact on the environment.

Lynn: That is correct! Also, the cost-in-use is much less compared to a pre-mixed, ready-to-use chemical. For example, a quart of ready-to-use product may be $3 compared to a quart of CMS product as low as $.035. And, because the dispensing is controlled there is no waste or overuse. These systems also help prevent theft of ready-to-use products.

Laura: What types of businesses use these systems?

Lynn: All businesses that use cleaning chemicals can benefit from a CMS.  We partner with healthcare facilities, grocery stores, schools, restaurants, food processing plants, office buildings, building contractors, hotels, the list goes on and on.

Laura: What factors should be considered when selecting a CMS?

Lynn: The major considerations when selecting a CMS provider are, first, a knowledgeable consultant to recommend the correct products for each surface and provide training for the cleaning crew. The second is safe, reliable equipment and technical service.  The service technicians need to maintain the equipment on a regular basis and be available 24/7 to respond to any emergency repair needs. And lastly, high quality chemicals that are compliant with all regulations and perhaps even third-party environmental certifications.

Laura: I see why you are so enthusiastic about CMS programs! Thanks, Lynn!

Lynn: Thanks for the opportunity to share the info.

If you are interested in learning more about chemical management systems, Lynn Miller is gladly available to answer your questions and can be reached at lmiller@imperialdade.com.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Benefits of Encapsulation

By Jameka Carter

The encapsulation cleaning method has been around for over two decades, but over the years it has gained a lot of attention in the carpet cleaning industry. In fact, nearly every cleaning company offers some variation of encapsulation solutions.

Some encapsulation methods involve sprinkling a dry powder over the carpet; however, today’s better-quality encapsulation detergents are built with a crystallizing polymer that immediately surrounds or “encapsulates” the soil particles. After the carpet dries, the encapsulated soil can be removed from the carpet during the post-vacuuming process.

The AirX RX82 Soil Resistant Carpet Cleaner brings the most advanced technology to encapsulation carpet care. It has a completely neutral pH yet cleans better than other carpet solutions. It dries faster, contains AIRICIDE Odor Counteractant, and leaves no sticky residue to cause resoiling.                              airex

The encapsulation method has many benefits that carpet cleaning techs and cleaning professionals should be aware of.

If you have not yet become acquainted, here are 10 benefits of using the encapsulation method:

  1. It improves the overall appearance of carpet on a day-to-day basis.
  2. It is considered a very low moisture (VLM) carpet cleaning method that allows carpet fibers to dry in an hour or less, meaning that facilities will experience less downtime and cleaning staff can work efficiently and quickly over large areas.
  3. The equipment costs considerably less than that used for extraction.
  4. When charging by the square foot, the encapsulation method can be very profitable because more carpet is cleaned in a shorter period.
  5. Unlike extractors, there is no risk of the carpet loosening from the floor when cleaning tiles or glued carpet.
  6. Carpet extraction uses about 20 gallons of water to clean 1,000 square feet; encapsulation uses about four or less.
  7. Encapsulation avoids the possibility of wicking or resoiling. This occurs when soils remaining at the bottom of the carpet fibers travel up to the visible surface and make the stain reappear.
  8. Minimal training is required compared to using a carpet extractor.
  9. Soil recovered using an encapsulation system typically is collected by a vacuum cleaner; using the extraction methods, gallons of soiled water are discharged into sewers.
  10. It keeps the carpet cleaner for longer periods of time, allowing facilities to prolong the time between deep cleanings.

For more information about carpet cleaning products and equipment visit http://www.imperialdade.com.

9 High-Risk Housekeeping Tasks

Janitors, Custodians, and Housekeepers are amongst the highest occupational groups at risk for injury. This is due to the physical nature of their work that often involves awkward postures, repeated motions, and forceful exertion. The following is a list of high-risk injury tasks and the best practices to reduce the risk of injury and increase productivity.

By Jameka Carter

Janitors, Custodians, and Housekeepers are amongst the highest occupational groups at risk for injury. This is due to the physical nature of their work that often involves awkward postures, repeated motions, and forceful exertion. The following is a list of high-risk injury tasks and the best practices to reduce the risk of injury and increase productivity.

Share these instructions with your crew to keep them safe.

Moving Trash Cans/Carts

The more supplies loaded on the trash can or cart, the greater the force needed to push. Pay attention to uneven surfaces. It can cause the barrel to tip over. If it tips, let it go to prevent any strain on yourself.

Lifting Garbage Bags from a Trash Can

It is so easy to injure yourself while lifting heavy objects. Heavy lifting becomes more difficult when the contents of the bag have been pushed down. Use a trash can designed with vents for easier lifting and less back strain.

Taking out trash

Moving Furniture

Moving and rearranging furniture involves forceful exertions for one person. Use equipment and devices to help move furniture or call someone for help to prevent serious back injury.

Carrying Buckets

Some jobs require lifting and carrying heavy buckets. With prolonged use, a thin handle causes significant contact pressure on the hand. Avoid heavy compression on your hand by padding the handle or using a handle with a bigger diameter.

Scrubbing

A worker who cleans floors by hand uses rapid and repetitive hand movements while kneeling, crouching, or crawling. There is also sustained bending of the upper body and neck. Use knee pads if you must kneel or use adjustable long-handled scrubbers with pivoting heads to avoid extreme reaches.

Sweeping

Sweeping floors may involve awkward positions of wrists. In addition, the back and neck are often in an awkward forward bent posture. Do not bend your back. Use lightweight brooms, standup dustpans, and lobby brooms. They allow you to remain standing up straight. If needed, bend your knees, not your back.

Making Beds

Housekeepers forcefully lift and hold each mattress corner with one hand and tuck in the bedsheet with the other. Prolonged and repetitive bending is hard on your back. Do not bend your back. Instead, bend your knees and crouch briefly.

High Dusting

Reaching up while holding a duster for long periods of time requires awkward and fixed positions of the arms, shoulders, and neck. This task can lead to pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, arms, and upper back. Stand at an angle and not directly under the dusting area for improved posture.

Not Taking Breaks

Working intensely and rapidly while in awkward postures, exerting force, and struggling to keep up with workload are factors often associated with an increased risk of injury. Take breaks every two hours to allow rest and recovery from physical exertion.

cleaning people.jpeg

 

Expert Interview – Safety & Savings Through Chemical Management

CMS Dispensers New LabelsFor this expert interview Laura Craven, a member of the marketing team, spoke with one of the many experienced professionals here at Imperial Dade. Lynn Miller, Orlando Branch Chemical Manager, has worked in the janitorial industry for over 35 years including 18 years with Imperial Dade.

Laura: Tell me about your role? What does a Chemical Manager do?

Lynn: I love my job as Chemical Manager. I work alongside our sales consultants, assisting them in developing solutions for their customers. For example, in one of our grocery chain accounts we created customized cleaning programs for each department. We trained their staff on proper procedures helping them maintain a clean, safe and appealing store. In addition to the hands-on training we also provided written manuals and tools to ensure that the programs were consistent across all store locations. I enjoy the interaction with both management and employees when they grasp the concepts of the training. We are helping them be more successful and that is really rewarding.

Lynn: I also love to solve problems. A cleaning contractor called me just the other day to just tell me how much time and money he saved on a very large job after installing the chemical management system that I had recommended.

Laura: Please describe a chemical management system.

Lynn: It is the best thing since sliced bread! A chemical management system, or CMS, is an automated dispensing system that controls the precise amount of chemical concentrate mixed with water in reusable spray bottles. The system can be set up with multiple products depending on the cleaning needs of the customer.

Laura: What are some of the benefits of this type of system?

Lynn: Safety is a big one. Because the mixing is done automatically, there is no “glugging” of chemicals from one bottle to the next which can pose risks in improper dilution ratios as well as spills. Some people think that if some is good, more is better. That is not true! Using too much concentrate can make the product less effective, damage surfaces and can create health risks. Everything in a quality CMS should be color-coded with corresponding product numbers and names. The system should also include instructional wall charts and manuals making it very easy to use.

Lynn: Cost is another important factor. The CMS chemicals are super-concentrates, reducing the expensive shipping of water and excess packaging.

Laura: That is a more sustainable program as well. Reduced packaging and transportation, both of which have a big impact on the environment.

Lynn: That is correct! Also, the cost-in-use is much less compared to a pre-mixed, ready-to-use chemical. For example, a quart of ready-to-use product may be $3 compared to a quart of CMS product as low as $.035. And, because the dispensing is controlled there is no waste or overuse. These systems also help prevent theft of ready-to-use products.

Laura: What types of businesses use these systems?

Lynn: All businesses that use cleaning chemicals can benefit from a CMS.  We partner with healthcare facilities, grocery stores, schools, restaurants, food processing plants, office buildings, building contractors, hotels, the list goes on and on.

Laura: What factors should be considered when selecting a CMS?

Lynn: The major considerations when selecting a CMS provider are, first, a knowledgeable consultant to recommend the correct products for each surface and provide training for the cleaning crew. The second is safe, reliable equipment and technical service.  The service technicians need to maintain the equipment on a regular basis and be available 24/7 to respond to any emergency repair needs. And lastly, high quality chemicals that are compliant with all regulations and perhaps even third-party environmental certifications.

Laura: I see why you are so enthusiastic about CMS programs! Thanks, Lynn!

Lynn: Thanks for the opportunity to share the info.

If you are interested in learning more about chemical management systems, Lynn Miller is gladly available to answer your questions and can be reached at lmiller@imperialdade.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Expert Interview – Increasing Floor Care Productivity

Jim Lety shares tips to save time and money on floor care.

By Laura Craven

Expert Interview – Increasing Floor Care Productivity 

The New Year often brings new budgets and goals for reducing costs while improving productivity. For this issue of The Expert Interview I spoke with Jim Lety, Imperial Dade’s Regional Director of Janitorial Sales and a champion of productivity initiatives. With over 30 years of experience in the janitorial industry, Jim has held positions with distribution companies, national marketing organizations, chemical manufacturers and a floor equipment manufacturer. For the last 16 years, he has been part of the Imperial Dade team. 

LC: What are the major changes that you have seen in recent years that impact facility managers?

JL: Microfiber technology has been a game changer in the cleaning industry. These specialized mop heads and cloths attract and hold soil, absorb seven times their weight in liquid, are not susceptible to quaternary binding, and can be washed hundreds of times.

Another important advancement has been in battery technology. AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries are now used in auto scrubbers. They are safer, lighter, and more reliable compared to standard lead acid batteries. They also charge five times faster. Lithium ion batteries are now used in many vacuums and have eliminated the need for power cords which increases productivity.

LC: Saving time is a big factor.

JL: Yes, facility managers are now required to do more with less. They have additional square footage to maintain yet their budgets have been cut and they have fewer employees. That is their biggest concern today.

LC: What can they do to address that issue?

JL: Understanding proper cleaning procedures, including the use of power equipment, to increase productivity is paramount. I often compare floor care to lawn care. Lawn care companies have a trailer full of equipment and just two people in the truck. They complete each job quickly and move on to the next. Now think about a janitor’s closet. In most you will find a lot of mop buckets and wringers and if you’re lucky a walk-behind scrubber. But cleaning 15,000 square feet of flooring with a mop and bucket takes a very long time. It would be like a groundskeeper using scissors to cut grass. The answer is to increase productivity with proper education on the use of chemicals and the introduction of rider floor care equipment.

LC: That makes sense, but what about the cost?

JL: Rider equipment pays for itself. There is a minimum 20% increase in productivity compared to a walk-behind scrubber and 500% productivity increase over a mop. New models are available in smaller sizes as well. Micro-riders have the same foot print as a 20 inch walk behind. We have productivity calculators that can determine the ROI based on square footage, frequency of cleaning, and the hourly wage of the crew. It is an investment that really pays off.

LC: Sustainability is a hot topic right now. How does floor care fit into a green cleaning program?

JL: Manufacturers of floor care equipment have been tasked with creating equipment that fits into a green cleaning program. The use of orbital technology prevents cleaning solutions from “slinging” out, or spraying into the area being cleaned. This type of equipment also uses 50-70% less water and chemicals compared to conventional scrubbers. Chemical-free stripping is another process that is ideal in education and healthcare facilities where indoor air quality is critical.

LC: What is something a facilities manager can do today to improve their operations?

JL: Consult with a knowledgeable supplier about their challenges. There are many new cleaning technologies on the market today that can save time and money and produce better results. Also, never trade service for price. Expect both and partner with a supplier that provides the overall best value.

Jim Lety and his team are available to consult with customers about floor care and facilities maintenance programs. Jim can be reached at jlety@imperialdade.com.