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Chemical Management Involves Worker Safety and Economics
By Tom Bach
Oneof the most important factors in getting effective results with any disinfectantor detergent disinfectant is the type and quantity of soil to be removed.Different areas within a facility will contain different soil types that requireproducts designed specifically to attack and remove these soils. For example,the soil found in a food service operation is quite different than what may befound in a shower room. Excessive soil reduces the germicidal efficacy of anydisinfectant. Soil removal prior to disinfection is critical under certaincircumstances, such as food service cleaning and sanitizing, and in manyhospital departments for instrument reprocessing, bloodborne pathogen clean-up,and other critical equipment cleaning. Typically, floors and vertical surfacesare cleaned and disinfected using a combination one-step procedure combining acleaner disinfectant.
Attention to detail is probably the single most important step to maintainingsurfaces that are clean and disinfected. Some important techniques to considerare:
An additional method for properly treating large areas is through the use ofa pump-up sprayer to apply fresh disinfectant solution followed by mopping usinga pail of the same disinfectant solution to rinse out the soil removed.Additionally, double-bucket mopping is still utilized in many healthcarefacilities. These methods of disinfectant application help assure that freshsolution is always applied to the floor surface. Soil and germs are picked up inthe mop and rinsed and wrung out in a bucket of disinfectant. These applicationtypes can usually be found in the critical care areas of a healthcare facility.
Employeeswho are properly trained in their job responsibilities and are assigned specificcleaning duties within specific departments maintain integrity within the group.Training also provides recognition of the importance of the environmentalservices department. Some employers even offer employee training in the Englishlanguage. This type of investment goes a long way toward developingprofessionalism and job satisfaction. Both add to career longevity that canresult in career advancement.
The entire discussion referred to in this article involves the process ofchemical management. If a manufacturer received a call from a distributor or enduser 10 years ago inquiring about chemical management, the immediate responsewould be to provide the cost per in-use gallon review vs. theircompetition. Chemical management goes well beyond in-use cost. With workersafety, right-to-know issues, bloodborne pathogens and standard precautions,chemical management involves as much with safety as it does with economics. Theless environmental service employees handle cleaners, wax strippers, anddisinfectants, the better.
Chemical management involves many departments, including purchasing,infection control, health and safety, and environmental services, to name a few.It's not just dumping some product in a bucket and mopping floors any more.Product manufacturers can be an invaluable resource when assembling all the MSDS',procedures, and technical information needed to be compliant with both internaland regulatory requirements.
Tom Bach is the senior technical service manager for Reckitt BenckiserProfessional in Wayne, NJ.