Five Important Aspects of Office Cleaning to Prevent Spread of Flu
(Newswire.net -- January 31, 2013) London, UK -- Research has found the most important surfaces in the workplace that need to be kept disinfected and cleaned regularly in order to prevent the transmission of flu in the office. Regular cleaning of “high-touch” surfaces was found to be one of the key strategies for helping to reduce lost work time and the spread of pathogens in the office space.
This finding is one of five key hygiene strategies uncovered by the US-based Cintas Corporation, which were recently revealed prior to the official “flu season” of the Northern Hemisphere.
The five key hygiene strategies were as follows:
1. Regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces. These include computer keyboards, door handles, desks and telephones. A paper published in the Journal of Medical Virology found that pathogens, including the flu virus, can linger in these surfaces for up to 18 hours. Effective and frequent cleaning with disinfectant products kills the pathogens and reduces the risk of infections being transmitted via contact with these surfaces.
2. Deep cleaning of toilet facilities. Unsurprisingly, these areas harbour a lot of bacteria and viruses and are used frequently by most office workers. Thorough cleaning using industrial grade products and high-pressure cleaners, as is often done by professional cleaning services, is necessary to reduce the build-up of pathogens in every corner of these facilities in the workplace.
3. Regular carpet/mat cleaning. Mats provide the ideal breeding ground for pathogens, especially during the damper days of winter. Moreover, the shoes of staff and of guests to the workplace (e.g. clients) continually bring in fresh bacteria, some of which can be highly virulent. Shoes very often contain minute traces of faecal material, both animal and human, and this is transferred to the office rugs, mats and carpets on a daily basis. Frequent professional cleaning of all carpets and rugs in the office, especially in high-traffic areas, is strongly recommended to maintain a hygienic workplace.
4. Hard surface flooring is subject to the same exposure to pathogens as softer surfaces, with viruses and bacteria able to live in minute cracks and surface roughness in hard floor surfaces. Again, regular cleaning by a professional, preferably using a steam mop, is a key strategy for reducing the risk of workplace sickness. “Many workplaces think that running the old mop over the floor once a fortnight is enough,” said a spokesperson for CarpetFirst, one of London’s most comprehensive cleaning services. “But they forget that the mop itself doesn’t get cleaned in between uses – it just sits there breeding bacteria. A good professional cleaning service will make sure that a fresh mop gets used each time, meaning that you’re not going to put last week’s germs back onto the floor.”
5. Promote hand washing. Hand washing at key times is essential for reducing the spread of bacteria in the workplace, namely before eating and after using the toilet. The importance of correct hand washing needs to be stressed to staff and to guests to the workplace, and can be done via posters or via memos and face-to-face communication. Workplaces should also provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser and antimicrobial hand washing solution for employees to use.
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