Keeping your HVAC airways clean

Richard Betts, Managing Director of RABScreen, the external filter specialists, discusses the importance of airflow in heating and cooling systems.

Airflow is the single most critical element in the correct operation of all air heating and cooling systems. Yet most systems do not have the correct airflow.

As a result compressors overheat, fans blow hot air and heat exchangers at their heart cannot provide the capacity and comfort that their manufacturers built and designed into them.

Accurate cooling or heating analysis cannot be performed, system performance cannot be measured, and the servicing or commissioning process will be compromised if airflow is anything but correct, just ask any HVAC manufacturer.

We heat and cool air, humidify it, dehumidify it, clean it, move it, supply it, return it and try to monitor it. All of these processes are jeopardised if the designed airflow to the system is restricted.

The recent economic climate, has caused nationwide cutbacks on staffing and budgets. Fewer staff on site means a reduced capacity for maintenance and servicing. However, the objective of any maintenance team has not changed.

It is very simple:

  • Achieve adequate building cooling or heating.
  • Minimise labour time and maximise efficiencies.
  • Reduce down time breakdowns.
  • Maintain customer satisfaction.

Highly qualified engineers are wasting hours on the environmentally unfriendly, chemical cleaning of coil fins instead of fine tuning and balancing the sensitive air handling systems they are trained to maintain.

Measuring, monitoring and maintaining correct airflow should be the first step when servicing equipment. It is the key component for proper equipment operation. Energy consumption is dramatically increased when compressors and fans have to work harder to maintain design output and this means big money is needlessly vanishing into thin air.

Also if an expensive compressor needs to be changed and the technician has not fully determined why it failed, the new compressor is sure to fail for the same reasons. Indeed compressors installed by service technicians fail at six to seven times the rate of original equipment.

In most regions of the UK, pollen is a major contributor to the fouling of cooling equipment. This, combined with general debris caused by foliage, refuse and other airborne particulates, can have a significant impact upon the day-to-day running of the equipment.

It has always been very difficult to add filtration to cooling equipment (water and dry air cooled), small condensers and cooling towers. Yet products like the RABScreen external filtration now offer the ideal solution to air intake debris, contaminated coils and clogged cooling tower sumps. These screens are easily fitted externally and prevent contaminates in the air entering the system. This saves money by extending the life of disposable filters, saves as much as 30% of input energy on chiller coils and saves labour by reducing cleaning and chemical use.  As a result, the typical return on investment of fitting RABScreen air intake screens is less than six months. These air intake screen are a black engineered mesh, which is heavy duty and high abrasion resistant and incoming debris held in place on the mesh is easily removed by vacuum, brush or washing during regular maintenance.

During the summer months coil cleaning, changing of internal air filters and general HVAC maintenance must be carried out more frequently, consuming much of the engineering team’s routine programmed maintenance schedule.

Similarly, the correct monitoring of airflow through cooling towers will help to minimise the risk of decaying debris such as insects, seeds and pollen forming a nutrient source for the legionella bacteria.

As I have explained it pays dividends to keep HVAC airways clean as by doing so it reduces energy consumption considerably; it reduces the regular maintenance needed on cooling systems; and increases the efficiency of the equipment ensuring its long life well into the future.

Further information on averting HVAC contamination by using RABScreen air intake screens is available from RAB Specialist Engineers on 0800 999 5750 or emailing info@rabscreen.com or by visiting the company’s website at www.rabscreen.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Richard Betts is Managing Director of RAB Specialist Engineers which supplies and installs external filter screens for HVAC equipment. He has more than 40 years’ hands-on experience in the maintenance of HVAC systems and is a member of ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

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CHSA’s Accredited Distributors Demand Conformance from Suppliers 

Membership of the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association’s (CHSA) Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes has increased as distributors joining the Accredited Distributors Scheme demand conformance from their suppliers.

The CHSA’s Accredited Distributor Scheme was launched in January this year and already more than 135 distributor members of the Association have been approved for membership.  To become an Accredited Distributor, as well as passing the auditing process, distributors commit to supplying only CHSA Accredited product in the areas of soft tissue, plastic refuse sacks or industrial cotton mops, or product which conforms to the standards set out in the relevant Scheme.  The result is the new Accredited Distributors demand their suppliers adhere to the same high standards to which they ascribe and, as a result, many are applying to join the relevant Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme.

“Our focus is on driving up and then maintaining standards in the industry,” explained Mike Stubbs, Chairman of the Accreditation Scheme Panels and Vice President of the CHSA.  “We’re delighted distributors have responded so positively to the launch of the Accredited Distributor Scheme; membership signals their commitment to supplying product that can be relied upon to meet the Scheme Standards and the CHSA Code of Practice.

“It’s an unexpected but incredibly positive outcome that the expansion of the Accredited Distributor Scheme is leading to a growth in the number of applications to the Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes.  It’s proof we’re driving standards up throughout the supply chain.

“Buyers of cleaning and hygiene products from our Accredited Distributors and Manufacturers can be really certain what’s on the box is what’s in the box.”

Gaining admittance to the Accreditation Schemes is challenging.  Applicants are admitted to the Scheme on the successful completion of an auditing process conducted by the CHSA’s Independent Inspector.  Once they have successfully passed the audit and secured Accreditation Scheme status they continue to be regularly audited, giving buyers of their products the certainty standards are sustained.

In addition, to join the Accredited Distributors Scheme, distributors must sign a declaration that they will only stock and offer for sale CHSA Accredited products or products that conform to the same Standards as required by the relevant CHSA Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme.

Our Standards.  Your Guarantee.

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How to spot the greenwashers from the genuine article

Sustainability and green cleaning are too often used as buzzwords in this industry, so how can facilities managers be sure that their cleaning contractor isn’t just paying lip service to their environmental concerns? Chris Parkes, operations director at Julius Rutherfoord & Co considers what sustainability means when it comes to contract cleaning & soft FM.

Unfortunately, there are cleaning and soft FM outsourcing companies out there that simply use sustainability as a slogan as part of their branding. They don’t take initiatives seriously enough to make any impact beyond their own marketing materials. This can not only hamper their clients in reaching sustainability goals, but could also damage the reputations of everyone involved.

It is crucial that companies which say they are working sustainably can prove that they are doing this in a clear and accurate way. Otherwise it undermines the sustainable agenda that truly green-thinking companies are working so hard to implement. So, what should facilities managers look out for when it comes to checking the green credentials of outsourced service providers?

Verification is key

Firstly, there are a wealth of standards and accreditations to check – and independent verification is key. The best cleaning contractors will have earned internationally-recognised environmental accreditations, such as ISO 14001, Carbon Smart certification, or be a registered upper tier waste carrier, among other credentials. Recent national or local award wins recognising sustainable business achievements are also desirable in a contractor – they signify an on-going and continuous-improvement based approach to sustainability.
An intelligent and flexible approach to transparency is also required, and the best outsourced contractors will act as a reliable partner for their clients, providing reporting on sustainability that helps them reach and document their own sustainability goals too. Accreditations like ISO 14001 mean that the company in question must produce assessments and ratings of its environmental impact, for instance. Other schemes to look out for include carbon reduction programmes – ask your contractor if they monitor their fleet emissions, for instance. And if not, why not? It is easy to achieve and can quickly identify inefficiencies, as well as help pinpoint any irresponsible driver behaviour.

Reputable contractors will not only hold regular management meetings on their environmental impacts, but will also make their environmental reporting available to their clients, providing immediate access to the data in the most transparent way. Clear long-term sustainability targets are also a measure of how seriously a contractor is taking these projects, with regular updates on progress towards meeting these targets also made available to clients.

And the best outsourcers will also seek to shape their own supply chain into a more sustainable mould. Companies should audit their sub-contractors using sustainability as a measure of their performance, and provide a feedback loop through regular reviews and audits.

What does green look like

First and foremost, the use of modern and efficient cleaning equipment is far more environmentally friendly than sluggish, outdated models. Ask your commercial cleaner if they are using Eco models, for instance. Facilities managers might also want to delve deeper – is the cleaning company opting for self-dosing, reusable bottles? These not only reduce wastage, but result in far more efficient ordering of consumables to minimize waste.

When it comes to contract cleaning, most facilities managers are aware that some chemical ingredients in cleaning agents can cause skin allergies and asthma, and that others are corrosive and could cause burns, if they come into contact with skin. At the same time, cleaning chemicals can damage the surfaces they are meant to clean, not to mention the wider environment, if used inappropriately (in too high concentration, or if spilled or wasted and washed into the water system).

However, the misnomer persists in some quarters that harsh cleaning chemicals are required to get the best results. Innovations in the cleaning sector mean that the negative environmental and health impacts of cleaning products and equipment are being reduced all the time. A new family of cleaning chemicals that use biotechnology are increasingly entering the mainstream, for instance, and they are often more effective than their traditional counterparts, as well as being safer to handle and dispose of.

Alternative chemicals

Cleaning chemicals based on biotechnology use enzymes and other biological molecules to break down substances to provide the cleaning action. These processes tend to require lower temperatures and pressures than more aggressive acid or alkali-based chemical cleaners. In addition, because enzyme-based cleaners are developed using the fungi or bacteria that are most effective at tackling a specific material, such as fat or oil, the clean is more thorough as the substrate is broken down, rather than being washed away.

The resulting clean surface is also more hygienic as there is no organic material for future growth of unwanted bacteria. And because they are non-toxic, biological cleaning products can be used in a wider range of applications than chemical-based products, such as food preparation areas and work surfaces.

As well as alternatives to traditional cleaning chemicals, the best commercial cleaners will have a repertoire of green tools in their tool kit, including pure water systems that use ionised water for highly effective window cleaning results, microfibre cloths and diamond encrusted cleaning pads. The latter pads, for instance, use millions of microscopic diamonds to clean and polish the floor mechanically without the use of any chemicals. The result is a sparkling clean, non-slippery floor which requires no polish – perfect for high traffic hard floors, or historic floors that could be damaged by chemical treatment.

Limiting or even eliminating cleaning chemicals not only benefits the environment while producing a high standard of cleaning, but also brings health and safety advantages to both cleaning operatives and users of a facility.

Sustainability isn’t limited to indoor cleaning and maintenance though – grounds maintenance teams can also contain their impact on the environment as far as possible by using natural solutions, for example. These include organic pest control options, such as companion planting to discourage harmful pests, and encouraging wildlife that will control garden pests naturally and boost the ecosystem.

Sustainability as a business model

A true sustainable outsourcing partner would not only offer green products and services to its clients, but will have made sustainability part of its business model. Simple measures like energy-saving office design – from LED lights, low-flow toilets and segregated recycling bins to a roof covered with solar panels – should give a hint as to the true nature of a company’s sustainability commitment.

Training and education are also very important, not just at the start of a cleaning operative’s career but as an ongoing process. The best contractors will take training very seriously, with training facilities on-site offering courses to staff that ideally are accredited by independent reputable organisations like the British Institute of Cleaning Science. The idea is to promote simpler and more sustainable cleaning processes, and to stay up-to-date with new environmentally-friendly procedures and best practice in health and safety.

Outsourcing contractors should also work with their clients to implement environmental initiatives, including recycling/waste management solutions and introducing the latest innovative chemical-free cleaning methods in their facility. This type of partnership approach can help both parties reach sustainability goals, and boosts the reputational status of the facility being serviced as a true champion of best practice. Outsourcing companies that take the initiative in this authentic, open and measurable way will become the partner of choice for discerning facilities management clients.

About Julius Rutherfoord & Co
Established in 1994, Julius Rutherfoord & Co has grown organically into a significant, high quality cleaning services organisation. From its home in Battersea it focuses on the London market. Premium services are delivered, based upon an in-house training academy, mandatory staff security vetting, investment in innovation and high levels of site supervision. The team provides a full range of cleaning services to some of the most iconic offices and buildings in London. With over 2,200 fully trained staff located in London, the organisation is fully equipped to service the most demanding clients whilst still delivering the personal touch.

For more information on Julius Rutherfoord & Co’s services call 020 7819 6700, email sales@julius-r.co.uk or visit www.julius-r.co.uk

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5 People to Help Rescue Communal Bin Areas

We see time and time again the problem of communal refuse areas within shared developments being misused. This is usually within residential apartment blocks, although just as possible within business premises as well; it’s an issue that can suddenly escalate to critical and end up creating complications for those involved.

Take a recent example of an outside bin store area at a new-build residential development with apartment blocks. Within a week over a busy holiday period rubbish piled up so high that not only was it causing health and hygiene issues, but the usual bin collection by the local authority had stopped because they simply could not access the area.

So nothing else is being removed, more rubbish continues to pile up (and in actual fact can attract more when left untidy), and various residents and related contractors becoming concerned about how to find the culprit and quickly deal with the issue.

To effectively resolve, it’s often a team effort and in particular 5 different interests:

  1.       Cleaners – We appreciate the role of cleaners, and the reality that they’re often the supplier attending site most frequently, and needing to provide a service that clearly has visible results. Although the general clear and upkeep of such refuse areas is often not within their usual remit, they can at least visually check and immediately report any emerging issues.
    This can even include details of individuals seen causing the rubbish or contact details left on any packaging, all within effective data protection procedures, and they can help with any easy-wins such as moving large items away or simple collection of items in bin bags.
  1.       Landscapers – Whoever is maintaining outside areas, usually a form of gardener or landscaper, is often the best supplier to maintain and clean the communal bin store areas, even if within internal areas like basement car parks. They’re used to getting their hands dirty so to speak, and can usually arrange suitable removal of rubbish through authorised means.
    Therefore make sure they’re regularly checking as well as reacting to issues within these areas, can help report any potential culprits, and arrange any additional measures such as skips and drain clears.
  1.       Refuse Collectors – This is often the local authority with residential properties, or private suppliers for commercial premises. Unfortunately they often only literally clear what bins they can easily access, excluding any piled-up rubbish, and needing room to move any bins on wheels to their vehicles.
    In addition to making sure this can happen on set collection days, be ready for those times when they can’t, and any additional call-out clears needed by them or other suppliers, and any basis of amended charges to reflect a reduced service.
  1.       Handymen – They’re worth their weight in gold to help problem solve, whether it’s quickly fixing a lock and hinge on a gate, installing signs and notices, or simply checking and helping co-ordinate matters.
    Sometimes other contractors will try and muscle in on these roles for an additional source of business, but always make sure they have the correct skill set, response time, and fair rates before going ahead.
  1.       Property & Facilities Managers – They’re the glue to effectively running a property, and where the buck often stops. They ideally should have good communication lines to each contractor, and clearly state where contractors need to work and communicate directly together, and being clear with Purchase Orders and requirements.

Little things like contractors helping to take photos on site of the messed-up area in question, and being easily able to update concerned residents and occupiers is key, often all within a tight timescale and budget.

The ideal situation for a nice clear bin store area is therefore to be ahead of the game and pro-active, and reduce the likelihood of rubbish even piling up in the first place. Effective communication to all occupiers and parties, regular checks, and a good team on standby to nip in the bud early on can work a treat.

However, when you’re left to react to a messy communal bin store area, maybe after a holiday period where residents are home with visitors and leaving more rubbish, then don’t panic. Deal quickly and effectively through a combined approach, and make sure it doesn’t escalate further, with the root cause then being identified and dealt with.

Easy Cleaners are local cleaners with an active blog of tips and tricks for commercial and domestic cleaning.

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Cleaning & Hygiene

Cleanline is an exclusive brand of professional cleaning products and systems from Bunzl Catering Supplies, manufactured in the UK and designed specifically for the catering and hospitality industry.

BFM interviewed Rod Hale, National Account Manager Exclusive Brands, Bunzl Catering Supplies:

What does a venue’s hygiene say about it to customers?

People often judge the quality of an establishment by its cleanliness, and no more so than in the washroom area. Toilets and urinals should be spotless and fresh. For toilets we recommend Cleanline acid lime scale remover as it can be used in hard water areas. All urinals need urinal blocks because they act continuously to clean and fragrance.

Which are the most important parts of a venue to be kept clean – bedrooms, toilets, kitchen, etc.?

It’s a fact that commercial kitchens can get very dirty. Surfaces need to be regularly cleaned and sanitised, equipment needs to be washed so it’s free from contamination and floors need to be clean and dry to prevent slippages. Throughout the shift, after the shift, end of the day, weekly, monthly and annual cleaning tasks should be structured and highlighted to your staff, so they are aware of their responsibilities and when tasks need completing. Some cleaning jobs should be done several times a day, while others need to only be done weekly or monthly. Regular cleaning of your kitchen is essential for food safety and can help reduce food waste, lowering overall menu costs.

The new Cleanline colour-coded professional kitchen kit makes two-stage cleaning in the kitchen simpler and more cost-effective for catering and hospitality businesses of all sizes.

How important is staff training when it comes to hygiene? Is it worth hiring professional cleaners to do the work?

Good practical training is a major factor in getting the best out of cleaning products.  If new starters are not shown exactly what to do as soon as they start, then they will simply do what they think is best and quickly establish a routine of bad practices. On the first day, new employees would benefit from a visit to the cleaning store with an explanation of what each product is for, followed by an overview of the daily cleaning regime.

What technological advances have been made in the hygiene world in recent months? What effect have they had?

The Cleanline COSHH training and product resource e-learning website is available to help employees use cleaning products safely, and in a manner compliant with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). It does this by providing free COSHH awareness training through a selection of videos and multiple-choice questions, and can be completed online in under 15 minutes. Successful completion of the training is automatically flagged to a customer administrator, who can access and download user reports via the Admin tab. Perfect for regular COSHH awareness training or completed as part of an induction; new starters can be COSHH aware even before stepping on site.

What advice would you offer to operators looking to keep their venues clean?

  • Choose your chemical supplier carefully
    Many chemical suppliers include a comprehensive support package in the price of their products. This can be made up of practical training, COSHH training, maintenance visits, emergency call outs, wall charts and dispensing equipment. Make sure you’re getting the best value for money.
  • Safety Data Sheets
    Make sure you have one for every cleaning product in use and that everybody knows where they are kept in case there’s an emergency.
  • Use colour coded cleaning products
    With over one hundred languages spoken in the British workplace today, it is impossible to have so many written instructions for using cleaning products. Liquid cleaning products that are the same colour as their labels, dispensers and wall chart references are universally understood.
  • Use concentrated products
    Mixing concentrated products with water on site with a chemical dispenser is not only the most cost effective way of cleaning, it is also greener than using domestic type ready-to-use products. Constant re-use of trigger sprays means less plastic for landfill, less transportation, fewer fossil fuels used and a smaller carbon footprint.
    Super concentrated cleaning products in the Cleanline Super range are diluted through wall-mounted dosing systems for ultimate control and measurable cost in use. Diluted at point of use, super concentrate products use reduced packaging waste, take up less space on a vehicle, reducing the impact on the environment.
  • Make sure your products are at the correct strength
    It’s a common myth that a stronger product does a better job, but with an alkali based floor cleaner for example, too strong a solution will leave an unsightly white deposit. Use the right items to apply the products with; if you use a damp cloth to apply glass polish it will result in visible smudges – clean, dry disposable paper is best.
  • Ensure that the FSA’s Two Stage Clean advice is understood and enacted
    The Food Standards Agency’s Two Stage Clean guidelines are clear: Stage 1 is cleaning food preparation surfaces. Stage 2 is sanitising those surfaces. Train your staff to carry out two distinct and separate jobs.
  • Water Softener
    It easy to forget to maintain this vital piece of equipment. Make sure that replenishing it with salt is part of the routine and get it serviced regularly. Hard water leads to tannin staining, poor results and wrecks expensive dishwashers.
  • Allocate routine cleaning tasks to individuals
    If individuals have ownership of specific tasks, personal pride and accountability increase the likelihood of a good job being completed.
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Flexible workplaces need consistent hygiene

Steve Nurdin, marketing manager at Cannon Hygiene, discusses how changing workplace expectations are demanding more from facilities management’s role in hygiene.

Facilities management increasingly needs to accommodate new workplace practices such as flexible working while still providing a business with a high-quality service. Cleaning procedures also have to adapt to work in tandem with these shifting working patterns, to maximise efficiency and create a working environment with hygiene at its heart.

An increase in people working from home or visiting from other offices means businesses are adapting the way their space is used to take into account fluctuating numbers of people in one building. For example, many have created shared spaces through collaborative working hubs and hot desking policies.

Hygiene standards can become diluted as a result with more people sharing office spaces and transmitting bacteria. People’s attitudes and vigilance towards cleanliness often differs greatly and bad practices can encourage the spread of germs. This can seriously impact productivity in a business, especially during peak seasons for illnesses which can spread rapidly around an office and severely deplete a workforce.

To tackle this problem, there’s been a shift towards hygiene systems that work in the background to ensure levels of cleanliness are being automatically maintained, especially in shared spaces. For example, filters are now available that actively clean and fragrance the air, killing airborne bacteria and stopping illnesses from spreading. Shared surfaces such as door handles are another germ hotspot, but solutions are available that spray an antibacterial mist on washroom door handles to prevent germs from entering the wider office. Automated solutions can provide peace of mind that effective hygiene is remaining consistent at a time when flexible working is on the rise.

Appearance and functionality

People are generally more aware than ever of the impact of germs, driving hygiene to the forefront of facilities management. Washrooms, for example, are one of the most visited places in an organisation – people may share a desk with two or three, but a washroom with 50 others. As such, hygiene has to work much harder to match a business’ needs and expectations, demanding solutions that offer a top-class service. A washroom can not only affect employees’ opinions of their workplace but also a visitor’s impression of the business, so care should be taken to fit a suite that reinforces a positive company image.

As more businesses up their investment in facilities, it becomes more noticeable when a company hasn’t made the same commitment to their hygiene procedures. People expect the same levels of cleanliness in the workplace as they would at home or in a restaurant, and want to see a consistent and high quality hygiene policy being visibly practiced. From installing hand sanitisers across the office to actively promote good hand hygiene, to ensuring that doormats are kept well laundered and attractive, many businesses are now going above and beyond on their hygiene commitments to meet expectations.

Flexibility looks set to continue shaping workplace practices and maintaining a hygiene approach that reflects this should always be of high priority. By implementing a hygiene strategy that suits shifts in demand while staying consistent in its levels of service, facilities managers can be sure that their business continues to provide a quality environment for staff and visitors alike.

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Efficient and compact tub vac launched at The Cleaning Show

Contractors looking to clean more efficiently have a new option in tub vacuums offering great performance and an A energy rating.

The Cleaning Show saw the launch of Truvox International’s new VTVe.

Light and highly manoeuvrable, this compact tub vacuum is ideal for contract cleaners.

Using standard 32mm vacuum consumables, the VTVe is robust, yet weighs only 6kg, so is easily transported between cleaning jobs.

High filtration – using a four-stage HEPA 13 filter – ensures that particles of 0.3 microns and larger are trapped, while the unit’s 11.5 litre capacity makes for high productivity.

Crevice and brush tools are conveniently stored at the back of the machine, and there’s a tidy cable wrap at the top of the unit to prevent tangling.

For more information call 023 8070 6600, email sales@truvox.com or visit www.truvox.com

 

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How to clean rubber studded flooring

Barry Crackett is the product designer at brushware manufacturer Brushtec, which focuses on making innovative cleaning solutions for the industrial sector. Here, he shares his top tips for cleaning rubber studded floors and keeping them in the best possible condition.

Rubber studded flooring is hard-wearing and low-maintenance. It’s also particularly stain-resistant and doesn’t absorb liquids, which makes it relatively easy to clean.

Due to its resilience, it’s become a popular choice for use in public areas that experience heavy footfall, such airports and train stations. It’s also ideal for use in establishments where hygiene is key, such as schools and hospitals, since it can be kept spotless with ease.

However, although rubber studded flooring is a particularly durable and convenient option, it does require specialised maintenance to keep it in the best possible condition. So, here are my top cleaning tips that will ensure you get the most out of your rubber flooring.

Remove dirt and debris first

The first step in your cleaning routine should be to sweep or vacuum up any loose dirt and debris. It’s important that you do this before anything else to prevent your flooring from getting scratched during the cleaning process.

It’s very easy to do this with typical level flooring, but removing particles from between the studs of rubber flooring can take some extra work. Therefore, it can be wise to invest in a brush that has been designed for this kind of situation. Look for one with two different bristle lengths, as this will help you to clean even the most hard-to-reach areas.

Use appropriate cleaning products

While rubber studded flooring is particularly durable, it can still be damaged if cleaned using the wrong kind of products.

When picking out the cleaning supplies you’ll use, it’s best to opt for those that are PH neutral, as products that are especially acidic or alkaline can damage the surface of rubber flooring quite significantly. You should also refrain from using anything that contains turpentine or any similar concentrated strippers or degreasers.

Make an extra effort in areas with heavy footfall

It’s best to take extra precautions when it comes to areas of rubber studded flooring that experience a lot of footfall. To keep its surface in good condition, you can apply a metallised emulsion that will help to increase the resilience of your floor.

You should apply at least two coasts of the emulsion, and leave each to dry completely before adding the next. This process can take quite some time, so it’s important that you factor this into your maintenance plans.

By following these tips you’ll achieve great results every time you clean your rubber studded flooring, as well as extend its lifespan. So, invest in the most appropriate tools and update your maintenance routine now for the best results.

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Security in cleaning

Hundreds of thousands of people work illegally in the UK, and unscrupulous employers have taken advantage of this in the past. Julius Rutherfoord wants to see levels of security vetting improved across the professional cleaning industry, says operations director Chris Parkes.

Despite facing fines of up to £5,000 per worker for employing illegal workers, some employers not only take this risk, but also use the vulnerable status of illegal workers to exploit them. According to UK Home Office data, an estimated 500,000 to 900,000 people work illegally in Britain, many in the capital.

Unfortunately, the cleaning industry has attracted attention for this issue in the past. It is a sector well-known for its high staff turnover, and while the best contract cleaners are working hard to improve staff retention through training and development, some seek to victimise workers, placing them and the facilities they clean at risk.

However, corrupt and unscrupulous employers have sought to take advantage of illegal workers in the past. In one case, members of management at a cleaning contractor which employed tens of thousands of operatives working in the healthcare sector were arrested for allegedly blackmailing illegally-employed cleaning operatives. The resulting media attention also had implications for the reputations of the healthcare facilities that were being cleaned, as well as for the company involved.

This serves as just one example of why facilities managers need to know what best practice looks like when it comes to security vetting in contract cleaning. All staff, from directors to cleaners, whether recruited directly or inherited through the Transfer of Undertakings process (TUPE), must have the legal right to work in the UK and pose no threat to your business. As technology advances, the professional cleaning industry should be moving towards a more system’s based approach to vetting staff and improving the safe delivery of cleaning.

Forged or out-of-date IDs

During the initial security vetting of staff Julius Rutherfoord inherit through TUPE, we often reject between 20-40% due to forged or out-of-date IDs. That shows just how complacent some contractors have become – and how strong security measures need to be. Fake documents should not pass if rigorous security vetting procedures are in place.

The best cleaning contractors will go above and beyond Disclosure & Barring Service checks when verifying identities, and have extra document authentication and pre-employment screening processes in place. Cleaning operatives can also be protected while working thanks to biometric time and attendance recognition, and GPS fleet monitoring – technology that also assures cleaning supervisors and facilities managers that the right people are on the right site at the right time.

Responsibilities

We all have responsibilities to ensure that facilities being cleaned and cleaning operatives themselves stay safe and secure. Cleaning operatives often access facilities out of normal working hours, and cleaning contractors must have effective vetting procedures in place to safeguard the security of a site and the cleaning team, whilst guaranteeing a high level of service.

Julius Rutherfoord has published a new best practice white paper – Security in Cleaning – together with an accompanying infographic (available to download, also shown above) to highlight the challenges of ensuring the safety and security of facilities being cleaned and the operatives cleaning them. We have developed tried and tested processes which we want to share – staff and contractors have the right to work in a safe environment.

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Health and Safety in cleaning

Facilities managers need to be confident that health and safety has been considered for every aspect of the cleaning supply chain, from product selection to the final result, says Jangro Operations Director Joanne Gilliard.

Health and safety must be at the forefront of any facilities manager’s mind when contracting cleaning and maintenance services for a building. Protecting workers and visitors and the wider environment is both a legal and moral obligation, and the responsibility lies with the entire cleaning supply chain.

Safety does not come about by chance, and most accidents happen because action has not been taken to prevent them. The cleaning industry deals with chemicals that could be dangerous if handled inappropriately, as well as other tools and equipment that require proper training to operate. At the same time, cleaning operatives move around a lot on their job, and rely on the safety features of the facility that they are cleaning.

For instance, it’s all very well fitting all cleaning machinery with cable retainers to avoid damage and stretching, and insisting that cleaning operatives use back-pack vacuum cleaners in buildings with carpeted stairs. However if there are no anti-slip nosings on the stairs, then there is still an accident waiting to happen.

There are clear health and safety rules in place, of course, including the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health legislation which deals with exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. But facilities managers who know what best practice looks like from the cleaning industry will be more alert to potential breaches of protocol, and will also be aware of their own responsibilities.

On-site storage

Some contract cleaners will elect to store cleaning products on-site when delivering a cleaning service. This poses an obvious health and safety risk to a facility, and it is vital that a comprehensive risk assessment is performed for every cleaning agent or tool that is going to be stored on site. If possible find a secure, locked place to store them, safely out of the reach of workers or members of the public.

Quality contract cleaners will work together with facilities managers to perform this and other risk assessments. Most chemicals used for cleaning are not dangerous if used properly, and if the operative knows what to do if something goes wrong (such as spillage). But some chemicals need more careful handling than others.

Knowledge of the basic ‘dos and don’ts’ of the cleaning industry will also help facilities managers to identify health and safety breaches. Quality suppliers will provide guidance on dilution rates and encourage responsible usage and dosage control, while mixing products should be a clear red flag – any reputable supplier would tell cleaning operatives never to do this. Mixing products could cause a chemical reaction, even producing hazardous gasses.

Placing cleaning products in unmarked containers is another major mistake to be avoided at all times. The consequences of putting bleach in a water or drink bottle do not bear thinking about. If the worst does happen, it’s important to have contingencies in place in an emergency. Has the facilities manager communicated to the cleaning team where first aiders can be found and how to contact them in the building? Does the cleaning team know where to find your safety data sheet?

Quality control

Only suppliers that can prove tight quality control procedures should be considered by cleaning contractors. Look for companies that comply with recognised quality standards such as BS EN ISO 9001:2000 model for production, installation and servicing, as well as other international safety and quality standards.

By having these stringent standards in place, cleaning product suppliers take the burden off those further down the supply chain and their clients, including contract cleaners and facilities managers, giving them confidence in the products being used. But health and safety is about more than just complying with legislation – continually reviewing, updating and improving systems in place is crucial.

Reputable cleaning companies will also provide the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for cleaning operatives, as well as training – not just at induction, but ongoing throughout their career. The correct training is essential to ensuring that health and safety standards are properly adhered to, and should be accessible and cost-effective – e-learning modules are a highly effective way of providing high quality training to a large audience, for instance.

Jangro is a dynamic force in the cleaning supply industry and is the largest network of independent janitorial distributors in the UK and Ireland. For more information go to www.jangro.net

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