Detroit Janitorial & Cleaning Services Blog

Is Cross Contamination From Your Cleaning Company Making You Sick?

Posted by Mitch Hesson on Mon, May 11, 2015 @ 04:22 PM

cross contamination michigan cleaning companies, detroit area commercial cleaning, janitorial service southeast michiganThe Ick Factor In Commercial Cleaning

We’ve all seen it. You visit a restaurant bathroom and witness an employee leave without washing their hands. Or perhaps you saw a bartender wipe up a spill on the floor with a bar towel that was then used to wipe the counter in front of you. Maybe you saw a health care worker cough on their hand and then return right to working on patients or handling phones or other communal items. Or what about the day care provider who wiped a child’s nose and then assembled lunches with no thought to wash her hands? These are but a few of the cross contamination scenarios we all witness on a regular basis. We are people and we typically do many different things throughout the day. Bringing dirt and germs from one place to the next is so easy and just takes either a lack of understanding or forgetfulness of the cross contamination basics that can either keep us healthy or make us sick. If your commercial cleaning company isn’t firmly in the know about avoiding cross contamination issues, they could be making you, your employees and your customers sick.


What Is Cross Contamination?

Cross contamination is when germs and bacteria are dispersed between people, food, surfaces and equipment. These bacteria, germs and viruses can cause both minor and more serious illness. Naturally, cross contamination is a serious threat in the food and healthcare industries, but they are a risk to any communal, shared spaces.

In health care and hospital settings, there are more sick people, which in turn means a heavier germ lode. Likewise, there are more people who are already sick, injured or otherwise less likely to fight off communicable diseases. In the food industry, cross-contamination is a serious issue because so many people are being served that any cross contamination issues can make a great deal of people sick in a short amount of time. But cross contamination and cleaning for health are important in any business or facility.


Which is the Real Cost of Cross Contamination?

While cross contamination is especially important industries like healthcare, it is a risk in any setting. Businesses that see an influx of people are at the highest risks of cross contamination as the more people, the more germs to spread. Think about schools, daycares, hotels, manufacturing centers, plants and industrial centers, retail and other facilities that see many people each day. Not only can cross-contamination make employees and visitors sick, they can cost companies billions of dollars every year. Insufficient cleaning that amplifies the spread of disease-causing germs reduces customer satisfaction, raises employee absenteeism, creates employee dissatisfaction, reduces employee engagement and can increases employee attrition.


Does Your Commercial Cleaning Service Understand the Hazards of Cross Contamination?

Managing the risks of cross contamination can be challenging because we cannot see germs, microbes, pollutants and allergens. So no matter how clean a facility looks, if cleaning for health has been ignored or overlooked, your facility could be a dangerous breeding ground for disease-causing germs. To avoid health issues caused by cross contamination, your commercial cleaning company must clean with a full understanding of how germs are transferred and spread and how cleaning can address this. Ask the question, what is your commercial cleaning company doing to insure everyone in your facility is protected from cross contamination.

The usual suspects when it comes to cross-contamination are hands, equipment, cloths/rags, door handles, or food that may come into contact with them. Far too many people don’t wash and dry their hands before touching or eating food or after using the toilet or blowing their noses. Your commercial janitorial service can’t force your employees to, but they can clean in such a way that reduces the risk of disease. Another risky move is to clean multiple areas with the same supplies and equipment and store restroom cleaning supplies with items used in other areas. It makes it so much more likely that one employee will use a rag to wipe out a bathroom sink and then another employee pick up that same rag to now wipe down a work surface or phone mouthpiece. In order to avoid dangerous cross contamination, cleaning companies should utilize color-coded towels and rags to be certain bathroom bacteria doesn’t make it onto your desk or computer keyboard.


Cleaning For Health & Best Practices Reduces the Hazards of Cross Contamination

It is clear that informed, professional cleaning practices can minimize the risk of cross contamination which in turn reduces the spread of communicable diseases. Cleaning for health reduces bacteria on equipment and shared surfaces that people come into contact with each day, like keyboards, phones and restroom touch-points. What kind of things should your janitorial company do in order reduce the risk of cross contamination and make your facility cleaner and safer?

▪    Capture air pollutants/irritants and remove them with HEPA filter vacuums rather than simply move them around.

▪    Minimize harmful chemicals in the environment by using the right cleaner for the right job, the right amount and correctly storing and disposing of any chemicals.

▪    Carefully follow dwell times and product instruction to insure maximum germ killing power.

▪    Segregate supplies like tools, chemicals and equipment.

▪    Implement a color-coded rag/towel system.

▪    Insure training and communication programs to guarantee front-line employees fully understand how to clean for a healthy work environment.

▪    Focus much of their cleaning efforts on touch points, those areas that employees and customers may touch several times each day like door handles, light switches, phones and more.


Create a Healthy Work Environment With The Help of Your Janitorial Company

We all want to go to work or get through our days with as little exposure to disease causing germs as possible. We want a clean workplace, clean schools, hospitals and anywhere we spend our time. Cross-contamination prevention and green cleaning can go hand-in-hand to insure clean, healthy facilities for us and the people we care most about. Quality commercial cleaning can lower costs, keep employees happy and working hard, improve safety, increase customer and employee satisfaction, reduce absences, and help us send the message that we do good work no matter what our business is. A facility that looks clean and well maintained is important but it’s equally important that your facility is clean where you cannot see it, at the microscopic level. You owe it to your employees, tenants and customers to make sure your commercial cleaning company is doing all they can to safeguard health and protect your reputation.


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Tags: Commercial Cleaning, Industry Best Practices, Healthy Work Environment

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