Tag: building health

Indoor air quality matters

While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance or indoor air quality, the recent extreme weather and disasters across the US have further emphasized it. As the person responsible for your facility’s cleanliness and overall wellness, it may be up to you to put some extra practices into place to ensure that the indoor air quality is up to snuff (no pun intended).

Install an air purification program- Air purification units have become a hot topic because of COVID-19, but they do so much more beyond removing viruses and bacteria from the air. Did you know that air purifiers—

  • Prevent mold and mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in environments with moisture and air flow problems. Installing an air purification system increases air flow which prevents their growth while also ridding the air of their harmful spores.
  • Eliminate odors. Foul odors in your workplace are a turn-off for both employees and guests. Air purifiers stop their spread and get those smoky, chemically, stinky odors at the source.
  • Provide allergy relief. Allergies affect over 50 million Americans and can be a major factor in chronic illness. Commercial grade air purifiers capture common allergens like dust mites and pollen so that they aren’t floating around in the air.
  • And more! Couple all of these benefits with an air purifier’s ability to knock out dangerous viruses and bacteria, and you have a winning solution for your facility. Not only will people feel safer and healthier on site—but you will also see productivity improve. Clean air makes people healthier and feel more energized!

HEPA filtration on cleaning equipment- Carpets, matting, and other soft surfaces in your building can be a holding place for many common allergens. Using cleaning equipment with HEPA filtration lets you deep clean without releasing these miniscule pests back into the air.

Green chemical use- It may seem silly to worry about the chemicals you are using to clean your surfaces when talking about air quality. However, opting for green cleaning chemicals for your program helps reduce indoor air pollution by minimizing the use of solvents, harmful reagents, and other components that may negatively impact your indoor breathing space.

Make masks available- Above all else, keeping masks on hand and readily available encourages employees and guests to take responsibility for their own health. These disposable barriers help keep germs at bay and reduce the spread of everything from colds to the flu to COVID-19.

A quality cleaning program includes air care and purification. This is your chance to ensure your facility is as healthy as possible! If you have any questions about what you can be doing to improve your site’s air quality, you can always email me at katie@pennvalley.com.

Wash. Your. Hands.

Autumn is quickly approaching and with it comes cold and flu season. Add in a super-contagious Delta variant, and we have the making of a very sick season. Whether you are concerned about COVID-19, the flu, or germs in general, hand washing is one of the best defenses we have against the spread of illness. However, many American adults aren’t doing it right!

The numbers around Americans and hand washing can be a little concerning. A recent survey performed by Puronics* indicates that:

  • American adults wash their hands approximately nine times per day
  • 71% do not always wash their hands after sneezing, blowing their nose, or coughing
  • 62% say that you should always wash your hands after being out in public, but only 46% actually do that
  • 51% do not use hand soap every time they wash their hands
  • 38% wash their hands for 15 seconds or less

With such staggering statistics, it feels like an appropriate time to remind everyone about proper hand washing techniques. Here is a printable handwashing poster that you can use as you see fit. The most important takeaways are:

  • The whole hand washing process should take 40-60 seconds
  • Use soap—and use enough to adequately cover all parts of your hands
  • Rubbing your hands together vigorously and in between your fingers and by your nails help to ensure you are getting rid of as many germs as possible
  • Paper towels help complete the hand washing process and help keep washers from re-contaminating their hands

Encourage healthy hands in your facility by keeping your dispensers in your restrooms fully stocked and in working order. You can also print the linked poster from above and laminate it so you can post in your restrooms to show people how to properly wash their hands. It’s one of our best defenses against the spread of illness.

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Not convinced that hand washing is all that important? Check out our video where we use an ATP meter to measure the microorganism count on our training manager’s hands before and after hand washing:

*Puronics performed a hand washing survey of 1,531 self-reporting Americans from April 27 to May 3, 2021. 52% were female and 48% were male with an average age of 38. You can see the full survey results here.

Healthy hands are happy hands

Healthy hands are happy hands

Wash your hands. It sounds simple enough, right? In actuality, only one in three American adults washes his hands properly and frequently enough. Are you the one in three? Or are you one of the other two who will hopefully be converted after reading this blog?

There are tons of gross statistics I could bore you with (seriously, Google “gross facts about hand washing” and you will never want to shake hands with anyone again), but I prefer the proactive approach. The best thing you can do for your facility to ensure people are washing their hands is actually two-fold.  First, make sure you keep paper towel and soap dispensers filled. If you have hand dryers, please seriously consider changing them out for towels. Studies have been done that show people are less likely to wash their hands because they don’t care for hand dryers AND that hand dryers can actually spread germs by blowing them off the one person’s hands and into the air. Secondly, just posting a reminder about hand washing can increase the number of people who hand wash at your facility by almost 45%. If you are looking for a chart to laminate and post, you may want to download this one: How_To_HandWash_Poster.

As a facilities manager, you want your team, your customer’s employees and your site’s guests to be washing their hands regularly. Why? Because when illness spreads, as it so often does at this time of year, you and your team will be the ones doing damage control. If a viral outbreak occurs at your site, you will need to stop your regular cleaning and switch gears to disinfection and possibly work on putting a quarantine plan into effect on site. No one wants compound their already full schedules with extra work, especially around the holidays. And then what if someone on your team gets sick from cleaning a disinfected area? This will put added stress on your team.

London researchers estimate the one million deaths could be prevented annually if everyone washed their hands properly several times throughout the day. Doesn’t taking the time to stock dispensers and hang a few placards sound like a more than fair exchange for healthier hands and ultimately, lives?

The perks of going automatic

The perks of going automatic

So this may be because I am a millennial or it could be because I am a little bit of a germaphobe—but I am obsessed with automatic accessories for restrooms. They are cleaner, more efficient and just make for an all-around nicer restroom experience for guests. This means that when you use automatic accessories, you are improving human and building health AND creating a better, lasting impression on people which will make them want to come back to your business.

How do automatic dispensers and fixtures help human health?

Think about the average restroom experience.  You push open the door (touch point), head to the stall and lock it (touch point), do your business (major touch point), flush the toilet or urinal (another touch point), unlock the stall and head to the sink (double touch point), push the button on the soap dispenser to wash your hands (touch point) and then you do the funky elbow dance to push the lever on the towel dispenser because you need to dry your hands (an unusually complicated touch point), and FINALLY you leave by using your paper towel to wrangle the door (half a touch point?). You just came in contact with an astronomical amount of bacteria and germs doing something that we all do several times a day. And the more people who do this very regular activity in your restroom, the more germs find their way in there throughout the day.

Automatic towel and soap dispensers, automatic toilet and urinal flush systems and automatic faucets all reduce touch points which in turn reduces the opportunities for cross contamination and spread of germs. The less germs people are in contact with, the less likely they are to get sick.

How do automatic dispensers and fixtures help building health?

In addition to helping keep your team and your customers healthier, automatic dispensers and fixtures help control waste, which in turn creates a healthier building. Battery-operated dispensers help control how much towel or soap is released per use, which makes it much harder to waste these products. Automatic faucets can help reduce water waste by up to 40%. In a time where sustainability is a pressing issue on everyone’s mind and the environment is becoming an increasingly important topic, there is no need to be wasting water.

How do automatic dispensers and fixtures create a better, lasting impression on guests?

People will notice if toilets are not flushed. They will remember that they had to jam the button on the soap dispenser 27 times to get some soap out of it.  And I promise you, they will not forget that there was water dripping off of your towel dispenser and on to the floor from the previous guest who washed his hands. Automatic dispensers and fixtures help you manage your restroom so it doesn’t leave a negative impression on guests. They provide a cleaner, more distinguished image that will be positively associated with your facility for many visits to come.

If you wish to further discuss the benefits of automatic dispensers and fixtures or want to know more about how to update your restroom, please keep the conversation going. You can always email me at Katie@pennvalley.com. Let’s make sure we are keeping your business clean.