Team Clean, Inc.Team Clean, Inc.

The Importance of Having a Clean & Professional Work Environment

Spring is nearly here, and while some thoughts turn to baseball, others think about March Madness, have you thought about some spring cleaning at work?

Take a moment right now, and give a good look around your office.  Ask yourself, when is the last time it was thoroughly cleaned? You probably have a lot of other things on your plate right now. However, it is always important to make sure that you are not neglecting the need to have a clean office.

The office is the main headquarters of your business, where your employees spend at least eight hours of their day, and where all the hard work and innovation happens. It is also the environment in which you meet with business associates and clients, whom you want to give a good impression.  If your office is dirty, messy and unorganized, it will have numerous negative effects on the success of your business.

There are many commercial cleaning companies who will provide this service for you, giving the office a thorough cleaning from top to bottom very efficiently.  There are numerous advantages that a clean office can bring.

Healthier employees is a big one — if your office space is dusty and unclean, it is much more likely to foster the spread of the flu and other diseases between your employees. The airborne dust will also cause your employees with allergies to suffer from sneezing, sore throat, runny nose and itchy eyes. When your employees feel sick because of a dirty office, they need to take time off work to recover. If they are suffering from allergies because of a dirty office, they will feel tired and irritated all day long at work, and therefore they will be less productive workers.  Keeping the office clean avoids this.  Employees who are healthy and happy are more productive and perform better work, so taking care of their health will help the bottom line of the company.

A clean and tidy office and work environment also gives your business a professional image.  A messy office can make your clients and business associations think that you are unprofessional and disorganized. They could assume that if you can’t be bothered to clean your own office, how much effort will you put into doing good work for them?  A negative first impression could cause you to lose clients, and could lose you a lot of respect in the professional world. A clean and tidy office will impress any guests and let you show off your business properly because it shows that you pay attention to the details.

Thoroughly cleaning the office means not only removing the dust and dirt but organizing files and work stations so that they are more efficient, leading to higher productivity.  Disorganized offices cause a huge amount of stress because folders, files and memos are always going missing under huge piles of paper on desks. Employee desks should be organized and clear rather than so cluttered that you can’t see the surface.  Having clean and fresh smelling air, as well as sparkling facilities, will give your employees a mental boost which will allow for better concentration and a stronger work ethic.

Once your office has been professionally cleaned, you can encourage all employees to do their best to keep spaces organized so you can continue to enjoy the benefits of a clean office.  It could be a fun way to get your team further involved in the business, and keep everyone happy and healthy.

New Clean Standards

New Standards for Facility Managers to Prevent Legionnaire’s Disease

Are you aware of the new standards for facility managers to prevent Legionnaire’s Disease?  ASHRAE Standard 188 establishes minimum legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems. Building owners and facility managers are now responsible for implementing Water Management Plans that will keep building water systems free of Legionella contamination.

It was passed to protect building occupants from legionellosis. The standard aims to minimize occupant risk by outlining the minimum steps required to prevent Legionella contamination of building water systems.

Legionellosis refers to two illnesses: Legionnaire’s Disease and Pontiac Fever. Both illnesses are caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria and commonly lumped under the name “legionellosis”.  The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 8,000 and 10,000 people are infected with Legionnaires’ disease every year. But it’s likely that underreporting puts the number closer to 100,000. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious concern because more than 10 percent of cases are fatal.  Pontiac Fever is a less-severe, flu-like illness that can also result from exposure to Legionella-contaminated water.

ASHRAE Standard 188 is “is intended for use by owners and managers of human-occupied buildings and those involved in the design, construction, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance and service of centralized building water systems and components.”
Note that while the new standard affects various professions, building owners and facility managers will have final responsibility for building water system safety and meeting ASHRAE Standard 188 requirements.

The new standard applies to both new and existing buildings, and their associated water systems (potable and non-potable).  Per the new standard, building owners and/or management must:

  • Meet minimum legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems (both potable and non-potable), as specified by the standard.
  • Conduct a Building Survey to identify risk-factors for Legionella-contamination and occupant exposure.
  • Appoint a team of staff to develop and implement a Water Management Program that meets risk management principles outlined in the Standard.  While the Standard outlines necessary elements of a Water Management Program, it does not require use of any specific control strategies to meet risk management requirements.

 

Five high-risk water systems features are singled out, including: potable water systems, cooling towers and evaporative condensers; whirlpool spas; ornamental fountains and other water features; and aerosol-generating misters, atomizers, air washers and humidifiers. Very specific compliance requirements are outlined for these water system features because they present a greater risk for legionellosis. If your facility has any of these features, you will want to check out both Standard 188 and ASHRAE Guideline 12.

 

If you’re looking for the standard to provide a ready-to-go legionellosis risk management plan, you won’t find it. While the standard sets out requirements for risk management plans and offers general suggestions, it does not dictate exact steps or regulations that must be included in legionellosis risk management programs.

So, for example, the standard requires building owners and managers to control microbiological activity, scale and corrosion through water treatment methods. But the standard does not require that any specific water treatment methods that must be included in legionellosis risk management programs.

Instead, the standard is meant to provide a basis for building owners to work from, so they can develop Legionella control strategies and maintenance procedures that will be effective in their facilities. In other words, the standard tells you what requirements your plan must meet, but it doesn’t tell you how to meet those requirements.

We recommend working with a qualified janitorial and custodial cleaning services vendor to inspect and identify any possible areas of concern, and developing a strategy for future preventative measures.

 

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