Check out our latest green janitorial services tips and tricks to prepare your school or workplace for the upcoming flu season.
Janitorial Services Tips and Advice to Prepare Your Workplace for the Flu Season
With flu season just around the corner, it is time for facilities managers and custodial staff to assess their current cleaning strategies and adjust them accordingly to account for the increased need to disinfect high-contact surfaces.
The financial incentive for investing early on in high-quality cleaning and disinfecting services and products has never been more apparent.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
Every year influenza, or “flu,” affects employers and businesses.
Flu costs the U.S. approximately $10.4 billion in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults.
However, the CDC’s numbers do not account for direct losses to businesses due to employee absenteeism.
According to a 2013 article by InvestorPlace;
Last year, Americans missed more than 70 million workdays due to the flu — the same number of days in more than 275,000 work years.
On average, employers are forced to pay $135 per day per employee in paid sick leave for those out with the flu.
At the same time, not everyone gets paid for sick time off.
The average person loses $92 per year in wages from sick days.
That’s over $3,500 if you work 40 years.
How the Flu Virus Spreads
The flu virus spreads from person to person in several ways.
- Direct Contact – Occurs when a person comes into contact with a contaminated surface, such as a doorknob or keyboard, and transfers the virus to themselves, most commonly by rubbing the eyes or eating without washing their hands first.
- Fluid Inhalation – Occurs when a person inhales or ingests a large droplet of infected fluid expelled from a contagious person, most commonly during a sneeze or a cough.
- Particle Inhalation – The least understood, but potentially the most contagious method of viral transfer. Occurs when a person comes into contact with infected fluid vapor expelled from a contagious person during normal breathing.
Understanding particle inhalation may be the key to devising new strategies to prevent the spread of influenza.
According to Dr. Donald Milton, M.D., Dr.P.H., of the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health;
[sic]…there is nearly nine times more influenza virus present the smallest airborne droplets in the breath exhaled from those infected with flu than in the larger droplets that would be expected to carry more virus.
Flu Prevention Through Improved Janitorial Services and Facilities Practices
Outside of medical environments, the only way to avoid fluid and particle inhalation is to avoid coming near those infected with the virus.
To address the challenges of direct contact infection:
- Assess the estimated traffic through your facility–hospitals and doctors offices should anticipate a significant spike in traffic.
- Additionally, identify all high-contact surfaces.
- Determine how frequently the surfaces are currently being cleaned and disinfected, and with what method and product.
- Assess the efficacy of the current solution, paying special attention to the potential for cross-contamination.
- Increase cleaning and disinfection frequency to adjust for the reality of more highly contaminated surfaces.
- Replace toxic cleaning and disinfection products with a certified green alternative to avoid contributing to indoor air pollution, which could potentially aggravate breathing issues in those who are already ill.
- Implement a color-coded microfiber solution combined with the two-bucket method to prevent cross-contamination.
- Implement IoT monitoring systems in key areas to ascertain occupancy and use patterns, and predict peaks in service requirements.
Flu Prevention Through Improved Hand-Hygiene
Aside from isolation and avoidance, the single best way to prevent the spread of germs is through proper hand washing and hygiene, a habit sorely lacking, in both children and adults.
According to a 2011 survey conducted by the American Cleaning Institute, when asking students why they didn’t wash their hands as much as they should at school, the students replied:
- Don’t have the time (43%)
- Don’t like going to the bathroom at my school (21%)
- Bathrooms don’t have the necessary supplies (19%)
- No one reminds me to (16%)
- The bathrooms at my school are disgusting (15%)
- No one else does it (14%)
These findings would imply that better-maintained facilities are necessary for promoting a healthier working and learning environment for students and school staff.
However, adults, who should know better, have an even worse track record when it comes to proper hand washing.
According to a 2013 article published by CBS News;
Michigan State University researchers camped out in public restrooms, and found only 5 percent of people properly washed their hands long enough to kill infection-causing germs and bacteria.
They observed more than 3,700 people using public restrooms, and found 95 percent of them were cutting corners.
Thirty-three percent of people didn’t use soap, while 10 percent skipped hand-washing entirely.
The average hand-washing time was 6 seconds.
These findings would imply a lack of information to make informed decisions, and can be addressed by implementing friendly reminders, in the form of posters, or IoT monitoring, within the restroom facilities.
While the flu is not entirely preventable, the financial and human costs can be reduced significantly by adopting several cost-effective green cleaning practices and increasing the frequency of high-contact surface disinfection throughout the entire season.
The keys to success are:
- Start early.
- Stay consistent, and;
- Use products and processes that have been proven to safely remove the virus while avoiding cross-contamination.
If you would like to learn more about the advantages of outsourced janitorial services to help your business prepare for flu season and help prevent costly sick days, contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 437-3253
In Fresno CA, call (559) 206-1059
In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 437-3253