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.

Restaurant Reopening Guidelines

By Vickie Holland

On a Zoom call last weekend my friends were talking about what they miss most during the “Stay at Home” order. The #1 answer was going to a restaurant! Thankfully most of the restaurants in our area have pivoted to curbside pick-up but that doesn’t take the place of sitting down in a beautiful restaurant while someone brings you a plate of delicious grilled red snapper on a bed of quinoa topped with a tropical fruit salsa. Or an order of jerk chicken wings (flats only) well done.

Once the “Stay at Home” order has been lifted, is your restaurant ready for customers? The National Restaurant Association has published this handy comprehensive reopening guide to help you get ready. Take the time to read it carefully. In addition, Imperial Dade’s HyProtection Zone consultation is available. This complimentary service includes a site survey, product recommendations, and review of best practices addressing disinfection and hygiene.

Here are our 10 favorite reopening guidelines:

  1. Check in with all employees’ well-being. They may have lost a loved one or experienced anxiety, loneliness or depression during quarantine.
  2. Instruct sick employees to stay home. Prescreen employees on arrival for signs of COVID-19 by taking their temperature.
  3. Enforce strict hand hygiene. Prompt reminders with posters on best practices.
  4. Develop a strong SOP for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces. Check that your disinfectant is EPA registered and appropriate for use against SARS-CoV-2.
  5. Train employees on the new, more detailed disinfecting and sanitizing practices.
  6. Follow the 4 steps of Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill
  7. Consider rolling silverware and eliminate table presets.
  8. Provide hand sanitizer for customers and employees.
  9. Use single-service gloves, deli tissue or suitable utensils.
  10. Consider a reservation only business model to better space diners.

Employees should be aware of the steps you have made to protect them from COVID-19. Ask employees for feedback on these changes and listen to suggestions. Employees often have creative solutions.

For more information on restaurant reopening guidelines, disinfectants, 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.

Increasing Floor Care Productivity

By Laura Craven

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 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 17 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: One of the most significant changes is the availability of labor to perform the task of cleaning the facility. Turnover is one of the toughest challenges that face many of the facility managers today. Properly training an ever changing workforce on proper product usage is a major challenge.

An answer to such a challenge is the new P.L.U.S. labeling system. The PLUS label system provides a universally understood icon based system to train your team. The label is easy to understand, reduces product waste, encourages proper product usage and requires less time to train.

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. Increasing the productivity of their labor is a major challenge.

LC: What can they do to address that issue?

JL: Understanding proper cleaning procedures, including the use of powered equipment, to increase productivity is paramount. I often compare floor care to lawn care. Lawn care companies have equipment purchased based on the increased productivity of their labor. This increased productivity allows the crew to complete each job efficiently and move on to the next project. Floor care productivity can be increased by using equipment designed for the square footage of your facility.

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 such as Imperial Dade’s Greensafe 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.

 

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 – The True Value of Clean

This month I had the opportunity to interview Dan Wagner, Director of Facility Service Programs at ISSA and a 17-year veteran of the cleaning industry. ISSA is the preeminent association for the cleaning industry and Dade Paper has been a member for 35 years.

LC: You have been part of the ISSA team for many years. What roles have you held?

DW: I actually started my career as in-house counsel. I assisted members with their legal and regulatory compliance concerns in the areas of hazardous chemical handling and transportation, product registration and licensing and overall safety. When ISSA made the decision to become an all-industry association in 2005, they needed someone to head up our newly created department that is responsible for developing and managing programs for facility service provider members. Since then my responsibility has expanded to include all education, training, standards and certification programs which allows me to work with all segments of the industry, including manufacturers, distributors, building service contractors, in-house cleaning providers and facility managers. I now serve on ISSA’s senior executive team and it is my privilege to work with members and represent the industry throughout the world.

LC: Tell me about how ISSA supports the cleaning industry?

DW: ISSA recognizes that as the “Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association”, it our responsibility to represent the industry and develop tools and resources to help our members succeed. Many still immediately think of ISSA as a trade show company given the success of the ISSA/INTERCLEAN brand of shows. But the truth is that we are so much more and are extremely proud of the other benefits we provide members. Those range from education, training and certification programs to industry leading communication and media to industry benchmarking studies and tools that help our members promote the true value of the industry. And everything is based on our brand promise – to “change the way the world views cleaning.” Those of us who are in the industry understand that cleaning is properly viewed as an investment rather than a cost to be minimized but we need to deliver the message to those who make the decisions regarding setting specifications and cleaning budgets. After all, we are talking about an activity that has the potential to have a positive impact on human health, occupant productivity, sustainability, safety and facility asset preservation.

LC: What are the biggest industry changes you have seen in last 5-10 years?

DW: Well, in the supplier space, it all starts with dramatic changes in the makeup of the marketplace. We are witnessing a tremendous shrinkage of traditional “jan/san” suppliers while at the same time learning to deal with the introduction of new players, the so called disruptors. And these distruptors are forcing manufacturers and distributors to take a hard look at how they operate and the services they provide. It is simply no longer enough to try and offer the best price. Suppliers have to be prepared to serve their customers as true business partners, willing and capable of helping them on their core business. With regards to the service side of the industry, the pressure to do more with less continues to grow. Efficiency is the word of the day and service providers need to help customers understand the role they play in facility management excellence.

LC: What is the biggest challenge BSCs (Building Service Contractors) are having today?

DW: BSCs really need to explore ways to deliver a clean and healthy indoor environment while doing so at the lowest possible cost. While the number of customers who understand and appreciate that cleaning truly is an investment is growing thanks to the “true value of clean” message, the numbers of end users who will completely ignore cost is very limited. This is especially troublesome given that the industry is still littered with companies that do not operate as professionally as one would like and who may be willing to underbid accounts. So how do effectively managed companies who are capable of delivering a clean and healthy indoor environment in a cost effective manner set themselves apart in a crowded marketplace? How can they prove that they can be counted on when everyone says they are professional, including those who may not be?

LC: How can the BSCs approach that challenge?

DW: It certainly starts with the true value of clean message and helping customers understand the importance of making sure they receive a quality cleaning service. And then, once the customers “get it,” BSCs need to make sure they have the tools to demonstrate that they are a company that can deliver on their promises. Fortunately, there are programs that can help. BSCs can look for standards and third-party certification programs that enable them to prove that they are professional, customer-focused and committed to true excellence. For example, ISSA offers the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and CIMS-Green Building program which sets forth management and operational best practices in six areas – quality systems, service delivery, human resources, health and safety, management commitment and green cleaning – and offers third party validation of excellence. BSCs should also partner with an experienced, reputable distributor who can help with product and equipment selection as well as provide training and additional support.

LC: What other advice can you offer?

DW: The entire industry truly needs to come together to spread the “value of clean” message.  We all need to be committed to professionalism and to making sure cleaning is viewed in the proper light – as a key, strategic component of facility operations and the most crucial piece of the healthy indoor environment puzzle. Cleaning has been viewed as a cost to be minimized and little more than a line item on a budget for far too long and it is up to us to change the perception to better meet reality. But we must also be prepared to live up to our promises and hold ourselves to the highest standards.

LC: What is the best way for people to contact you or ISSA?

DW: Give us a call or send us an e-mail. Why, we even still have a working fax machine! The bottom line is that we are here to help the industry and ready to provide assistance to our members. After all, it is our responsibility as the association that represents the cleaning industry. I can personally be reached at 800-225-4772 or daniel@issa.com and my ISSA teammates are ready to help as well.

For those in Florida, I’ll be at Dade Paper’s Innovations Expo on September 9th in Orlando. ISSA’s booth number is 246. We’ll be joining your staff, supplier partners and customers for what is sure to be a productive and enjoyable day!

LC: That’s right! For anyone interested in attending, visit http://www.dadepaper.com for more details and online registration.

DW: Of course, everyone is also strongly encouraged to visit with ISSA at the annual ISSA/INTERCLEAN show which will be held this October 25-28 in Chicago. ISSA/INTERCLEAN is the undeniable can’t miss event of the year, featuring more than 60 education and training sessions, more than 700 exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations and unbeatable networking opportunities. Please visit http://www.issa.com/show to register! Trust me…you want to be there for all the show has to offer as well as to hopefully help cheer on the Cubs as they attempt to end their 108 year World Series championship drought!

LC: As a fellow Cubs fan, we can only hope that this year will put an end to the Curse of the Billy Goat! Thank you, Dan!

 

 

 

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.