‘Tis the season that we all get closed up in building together and increase our risk of bringing home something more than the bacon.
In a study of 400 managers and employees conducted by HLW International LLP (Buildings, 1999), employees’ productivity levels were determined to be heavily influenced by the cleanliness of the office in which they worked.
The study found that cleaning has a very real and measurable value, specifically reporting a 5 percent productivity gain ($125,000) in a 100 associate office with an average salary of $25,000.
While you might think that a toilet seat is one of the most highly infectious parts of your building, think again. Be aware of these key areas that are highly responsible for transmitting bacteria and viruses.
45 germs per sq inch –Office Toilet Seats
3200 germs per sq inch — School Toilet Seats
1676 germs per sq. inch — Computer Mouse
3300 germs per sq. inch — Keyboard
12,000 germs per sq. inch — Office Desktop
25,000 germs per sq. inch — Office Telephones
2,700,000 bacteria per sq inch — Water Fountain Spigot
Some other culprits are:
- School desktops which have 400 times more germs per sq. inch than a toilet seat
- Touch screen terminals which are becoming more prevalent in small retail stores
- Restroom and any other door knobs
- Bathroom hand rails
- Toilet flush handles
- Elevator buttons
- Chair arm rests including the underpart of the arm rest
And don’t forget the break room. Kitchens typically have a much higher level of bacteria than the restrooms and if you use a sponge, throw it away. It carries the highest rate of bacteria than any other surface. In the workplace, the safest thing to go with is disinfectant disposable wipes.
It’s important to review with your staff the importance of disinfecting these highly touched objects daily or several times a day depending on the traffic the area gets. A disinfectant will kill 99.9% of pathogenic agents.
Dwell times are very important. School desks can have up to 400 times the amount of bacteria as a toilet seat. Be aware of the dwell times and don’t move too quickly through your cleaning tasks as it may just cancel out what your intention was. The disinfectant has to have time to work. This can be as low as 2 minutes if using a disinfectant like Perisept.
Consider what happens when you clean a surface by spraying and wiping. First of all, you won’t get complete coverage and the misting of chemicals is not something you want to breathe. Take a look at this example of using pretreated microfiber in a patient room. This method evenly distributes the disinfectant and ensures adequate dwell time.
This is much quicker since you’re not dealing with a mop and bucket for the floors and you’re not spraying and wiping. It cuts out several steps of the cleaning process which means you’ll have more time to go after more of those highly touched objects throughout your facility.
Supply your staff with disinfectant wipes to clean their desks, phone, keyboards and mice at the end of each day since desk areas aren’t usually touched by the cleaning staff.
Everyone has to work together to keep infections at bay. You can’t solely rely on the cleaning staff to cover everything. Every department should have best practices that they follow to help carry the load. They should also be encouraged to stay home if they are sick.