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Taking Charge of Germs
Consider how many common objects you touch in a given day – door handles, key pads at check-out, faucets, shopping carts, railings – the list goes on.
Now imagine the amount of unclean hands touching those same surfaces. Even if you routinely wash your hands, you can’t avoid the harmful bacteria and viruses accumulating on common objects. These germs continue to grow and start the dominoes falling as one by one they spread to each new hand that touches them.
Fighting the Spread of Germs…
Thoroughly cleaning common surfaces with safe disinfectants helps stop germs from spreading. But can a spray cleaner and rag handle such a big job? For a complete assault on germs, consider an electrostatic sprayer. This easy-to-use tool covers more surfaces faster than traditional spray bottles. Plus, it uses less chemicals while providing full coverage of objects.
…at the office
The influenza virus can live up to 24 hours, so diligent hand washing is imperative. If you touch an infected surface and then touch your mouth, eyes or nose, the likelihood of getting sick increases exponentially.
Studies have found that the work place can be a breeding ground for germs. Your desk could be ground zero, starting with your keyboard and phone. Contaminated common areas include, but are certainly not limited to, elevator buttons, staircase railings and door handles. An electrostatic sprayer can quickly and safely disinfect your personal space and high traffic areas to destroy harmful organisms.
…at the gym
Signs posted at the gym remind guests to wipe down equipment after each use. It’s common courtesy to wipe sweat off of a machine, but is that enough to reduce the spread of infections?
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a type of staph bacteria that often causes skin infections. MRSA can be passed to another person through body contact with an infected wound, by sharing personal items like a towel or using exercise equipment that has touched the infected skin. To reduce the risk of spreading MRSA and other infections, gym equipment, locker rooms and saunas should all be sanitized with an electrostatic sprayer.
…in the schools
A petri dish is defined as a container used for culturing bacteria and other microorganisms. That sounds a lot like day care centers and schools. The continuous parade of unwashed hands and shared surfaces provide the ideal environment for spreading germs and infections.
Using a handheld electrostatic sprayer can efficiently clean these surfaces thoroughly by targeting entire objects. And there’s no need to touch surfaces by hand. Plus, sanitizing the contents of a room with an electrostatic sprayer improves air quality and eliminates odors, without the strong smell of bleach that results from many spray bottle cleaning solutions.
…in many locations
The technology behind the electrostatic sprayers allows the system to work with different chemicals like biocides and disinfectants for veterinary clinics, hospitals, food processing plants and much more. The sprayers can also be used to apply insecticides or fumigants from warehouses to barns.
It’s important to adopt a cleaning protocol that helps stop infections from spreading. Traditional spray cleaning bottles do not provide complete surface coverage. Paper towels generate a lot of waste, while repeatedly using the same cloth could become ineffective. To cover more surfaces faster, with less chemicals, clean with confidence and clean with an electrostatic sprayer.
Photo by Jonathan Wilson
The seven simple words were the ultimate in praise for a woman hardwired to change lives: “You made a difference in the world.”
They were directed at Lynne Cutler, founder and president of Women’s Opportunities Resource Center, better known as WORC. Speaking was John Fleming, acting district director of the Small Business Administration, who was in Philadelphia earlier this month to declare Cutler the SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Champion.
There were several standing among the 200-plus audience members whose lives were touched by Cutler, including Rosliana and Mitchell Zigmund, Roz Brait, Gerry Fioriglio, and Cassandra Hayes, to name a few.
They are bakers, an operator of a home-care company, and the founder of a business specializing in customized promotional products, just some of the recipients of microloans, entrepreneurial training, and other support that WORC has provided to thousands in Philadelphia, its suburbs and northern Delaware – primarily, but not exclusively, women – since Cutler launched the nonprofit 25 years ago.
Over the years, the organization has issued 783 microloans – averaging about $7,500 and totaling $3.8 million – to help businesses start or expand. About 3,700 people have enrolled in its business-training classes. Under the Family Savings Program, WORC estimates nearly 1,600 families put away $3.4 million, which was matched by an equal amount. Combined with outside resources such as mortgages and education grants, the total economic impact was $52 million, Cutler said.
WORC was one of the first microenterprise programs in the nation that focused on entrepreneurship and asset-building to help lower-income people and families achieve economic self-sufficiency. Cutler suggests creating it was her destiny.
Does your cleaning contractor know the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing? Do you?
These terms are often thrown around and misused, but in reality, they each have specific definitions and reasons they are used. Cleaning is not the same as sanitizing and sanitizing is not the same as disinfecting. When you clean, you simply remove foreign material from high-touch objects and surfaces by using water and enzymes and some elbow grease. You need to clean, however, before you disinfect or sanitize, so it is a very important step.
When you disinfect, you kill germs. You don’t necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing the germs, you help to remove the risk of spreading infection. This is especially important in healthcare facilities. Sanitizing uses either heat, radiation or chemicals, and is mostly used in foodservice facilities. Again, the area needs to be completely cleaned in order for sanitizing to be effective, as sanitizing and disinfecting are a step above regular cleaning. Cleaning simply removes dirt, while the other methods remove potentially harmful bacteria that may not be visible. All are important in the areas and the buildings that they are used in, in the right order. Does your cleaning contractor keep your facility cleaned, sanitized and/or disinfected according to your specific needs?
How you feel affects how you work, and how others around you work, too. If you are feeling sick, you have two choices – call in sick, or come in to work and feel miserable.
It’s no secret that most would recommend that when you’re sick, you stay home until you get better, yet many of us show up to our jobs anyway to, as the saying goes, “tough it out.”
But that’s put your co-workers in harm’s way, too – what one writer called “the crosshairs of germs.” According to a study from MIT, the fluid released by a single sneeze can travel over 26 feet – the length of several desks.
When a company’s employees do, in fact, call in sick, the company suffers there, as well. In fact, absent employees and those who show up to work while sick combine to cost the U.S. economy nearly $230 billion each year due to lost productivity. It’s important that workers and cleaners heed advice on how to stay healthy while in the office.
Here are a couple tips:
1. Talk to the cleaning staff: While great communication between office managers and cleaning staff should occur throughout the year, special chats prior to and during cold and flu season can do a lot to put workers in the best position to keep offices safe. Topics of discussion should include how often high-touch surfaces should be disinfected.
2. Know what carries germs: Speaking of high-touch surfaces — cleaners and building occupants alike need to get to know what they are. The most germ-covered items in the office are those that come in contact with hands. This of course includes door handles, keyboards and phone receivers, but sink taps, faucets, refrigerator handles and the buttons on vending machines and microwaves, get in plenty of contact with fingers, too.
3. Improve hand washing: Too often do people skip out on washing their hands, but even those that wash their hands often don’t do it for long enough. The average person washes his or her hands for 10 seconds, which is only long enough to dispose of 90 percent of germs. This is a mistake, as that remaining 10 percent of bacteria can double in less than 20 minutes. In 80 minutes, the bacteria grow to the number is was at prior to the hand washing.
4. Keep your workstation clean: It is extremely important to keep your workstation clean and orderly. Tidy it up five minutes before leaving for the day so that you return to a neat workspace the next morning. Keep sanitizing wipes handy and use them to wipe the surface of your desk often.
5. Be hygienic: Being hygienic goes a long way in keeping you healthy. You can take the necessary steps at work too. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk. When at work, it may not always be possible to step away from your desk every time you want to wash your hands. But with your hand sanitizer close, you can deal with situations that involve you coughing or sneezing and stay healthy and germ-free.
6. Avoid mingling with sick employees: This one is common sense but no less important. Avoid close contact with employees, who may be sick or show symptoms of communicable disease. Wash your hands if you’ve been around their workstation. Also, let office management know about the sick employee, if they aren’t already aware. If you’re sick, it’s best to stay home and recuperate so that you do not end up spreading the infection to others.
Maximizing Your Curb Appeal
How many chances do you get to make a first impression?
Yes, it’s a trick question. Are you, or your company, ready to welcome new residents, employees and clients?
A first impression promotes your investment, reveals your decisions and shows your pride. If guests arrive at your office, apartment complex or other facility, and see unkempt grounds or dying plants, they immediately lower their expectations. These negative assumptions, like judging a book by its cover, can affect occupancy rates, and ultimately sales.
A property manager can assess the curb appeal of a building or campus and essentially work from the ground up to refresh the property.
First step: Contact a lawn maintenance company.
Local and national “landscape management” companies provide the ideal services to help create a positive image on your grounds. Determine the schedule, services and fees that accommodate the size of the property. When you find a company that provides great results, consider contracting them for additional properties.
Second step: Look for a maintenance plan that includes:
Consultations – determine frequency of landscaping service and treatment options.
Pre-emergent herbicides – apply to keep weeds and crab grass away with this preventative treatment.
Fertilizing – schedule to add nutrients to the soil and flower beds and encourage a greener lawn.
Irrigation – keep your investment from drying out with a timed sprinkler system and keep mulch fresh in flower beds to retain moisture.
Inspections – protect the lawn, shrubs, flowers and trees from insects and other diseases
Seasonal clean-up – prune and trim trees and shrubs, weed and re-mulch flower beds, rake and remove debris.
Third Step: Maximize your real estate.
Rich green grass and lush trees welcome visitors to your property. Encourage them to stay with essential add-ons that enhance your landscaping plan.
Apartment complexes and townhome communities may be designed with park-like common areas or tree-lined walkways. Consider enhancing the property and resident satisfaction by staging social areas, a community garden or quiet retreats. Property managers will see the immediate results of adding extra elements that appeal to realtors and potential new tenants too.
Outdoor socializing – add benches, tables and umbrellas for residents to eat outside or visit with friends and family.
Zen garden – create a peaceful sanctuary with a waterfall, koi pond or rock garden.
Small details – hang windchimes or flowering plants or add large decorative pots with herbs or flowers to keep insects away or attract butterflies.
Lighting – install solar-powered lights on walkways for guests to enjoy the landscaping into the evening.
Gardening – Assign a small plot of land for residents to maintain a garden to promote sustainability and reduce the carbon footprint.
Business complexes can also utilize enhanced grounds:
Outdoor offices – this trend continues to rise as teams venture outside (for some fresh air) for a change of scenery and team building opportunities.
Welcoming guests – invite guests to relax on a bench before an appointment or meet with them at an outdoor table in the shade.
Vendors – utilize the outdoor space for hosting special events like “Food Truck Friday,” ping pong, washers or horse shoes tournaments.
Designing specialized outdoor spaces encourages residents or workers to interact. The campus environment builds a sense of community and promotes longevity.
Lay the groundwork to promote your business, by improving your curb appeal today.
It’s an unfortunate fact that in recent years, superbugs have become a concern and a threat to all of us. They are things we need to be aware of and pay attention to so that we can do the best we can to prevent them from spreading and doing more damage.
The latest superbug that is relevant to our area is C. auris, which the CDC just added to their list of “urgent threats”. This fungus has been quietly spreading across the world, but was most recently found in New York, New Jersey and Illinois, as well as solitary cases in other states. Nearly 600 cases have been confirmed across the US. This fungus preys on those with weakened immune systems, and in the last five years has taken a hold in a neonatal unit in Venezuela, a hospital in Spain, a British medical center, and has also shown up in India, Pakistan and South Africa. It is estimated that almost half of those infected die within 90 days.
Unfortunately, as things like fungus and bacterias become immune to medications, the focus needs to shift to facility cleanliness, personal hygiene, infection control and a cross-contamination efforts. It becomes imperative for organizations to alter the way that they clean so that nothing is able to remain there and multiply. Some fungus and bacteria can live on surfaces for weeks if the area is not properly cleaned and sanitized.
How does one go about sanitizing and ridding their facility of a potential superbug? The answer is that it requires specific products and processes. Even cleaning professional know that eradicating superbugs is no easy task. Cleaning and sanitizing methods that can spray and disinfect on both hard or soft surfaces, and reach into even the tightest spots will go a long way in assuring that bacteria and fungus cannot survive and wreak more havoc. Prevention and awareness are the best tools to use to help keep things like superbugs from spreading. If you have specific concerns, be sure to speak to your corporate cleaning partner about the ways that are available to keep your facility as clean and protected as possible.
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