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New York law requires changing tables in public men's washrooms 15/01/2019

A law has been passed that requires all new or renovated buildings in New York that have public washrooms to make baby-changing tables available to both men and women.

The rule, which passed in April 2018 but didn't go into effect until the new year, applies to restaurants, shops and cinemas as well as state facilities such as parks and offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Each publicly accessible floor must have at least one changing table both genders can utilise. The legislation also states that building managers should post clear signs showing the location of the nearest available changing table.

There was no previous state law that required changing tables in bathrooms used by the public, according to a statement from the office of governor Andrew Cuomo when the legislation passed.

"Parents and caregivers of young children often struggle to find a safe, sanitary place to change their child's diaper," the statement said. "In addition, when changing tables are available, they are disproportionately available in only women's restrooms."

State senator Brad Hoylman, who wrote the legislation, said in a statement, "It's not just moms who change diapers. Dads need to step up and do their part of the dirty work, too."

In 2016, 6 per cent of fathers stayed at home to care for their families, according to Pew Research data. That’s double the amount of stay-at-home dads less than 30 years ago.        

Last year, an Instagram post of a father changing his son’s nappy on the floor of a public restroom suggested the world had not caught up to the modern American family.

"What's the deal with not having changing tables in men's bathroom as if we don't exist!!," Donte Palmer wrote on Instagram. 

He used the hashtag #SquatForChange, which has become a social media campaign raising awareness about the lack of changing tables in men's restrooms.

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World’s first self-cleaning metals inspired by lotus leaf 10/01/2019

Using inspiration from nature, a team of European researchers have harnessed new photonics technology to develop the first fluid-repellent, antibacterial, metal surface taking us a step closer to self-cleaning saucepans, toilets, and dishwashers.

Taking their ideas from defence mechanisms found in plants such as the Lotus leaf, the ‘High Throughput Laser Texturing of Self-Cleaning and Antibacterial Surfaces’, or ‘TresClean’ project, has made a breakthrough that will enable the production of self-cleaning sheet metal on an industrial scale for the first time.

TresClean has used high-power laser cutting devices to create microscopic ‘spikes’ and ‘ridges’ in sheet metal, causing liquids to ‘bounce off’ the rough micro-topography that mimics the surface of the Lotus leaf.

This roughened surface creates miniature pockets of air that minimises the contact area between the surface and a liquid, almost like standing on a bed of needles.

This new technique will initially be used to create antibacterial surfaces for use in the food production industry – increasing productivity and reducing costs in factories which process biological food products such as milk, tomato sauce, and yoghurt.

Professor Luca Romoli, project coordinator of TresClean, said: “In the same way that Lotus leaves keep themselves clean, without the need for cleaning products or chemicals, their jagged, rough surfaces enable water to stay as spherical droplets by preventing ‘spreading’.

“Bacteria do not get a chance to stick because the contact with the metal surface and the liquid is reduced by over 80%. We are looking at an anti-bacterial metal."

Laser textured surfaces

While this replicating approach may currently exist for specific and expensive plastic components, it is a first for self-cleaning metal.

Metal surfaces are textured using innovative industrial photonics devices: high-average power ultrashort-pulsed lasers are used in combination with high-performance scanning heads by utilising a beam delivery method enabling movements of up to 200 m/s.

TresClean can achieve this surface texturation quickly by cutting areas of 500 square cm in less than 30 minutes. In early 2015 production methods could make laser-etched metal at a rate of 1 square inch in 1 hour, whereas TresClean can produce 1000 square cm in the same period of time, making this technology 156 times quicker than before.

Initially aiming its product at machine parts for the food industry TresClean hopes to make a significant impact on productivity: 

“Vats in milk factories need to be cleaned every 6-8 hours to avoid the exponential growth of bacteria. This hinders usage and therefore affects output,” Romoli said.

“By saving hours per day in cleaning, it will yield an efficiency improvement stemming from fewer sterilisation cycles and less cleaning time within production as a whole." 

Professor Romoli sees the long-term possibilities and implications for other sectors: “It is possible that any use of metal that needs to avoid the formation of bacteria will benefit from the TresClean product, such as medical cutting tools, sterile surfaces, dishwashers, or even saucepans."

Coordinated by the UNIVERSITÁ DEGLI STUDI DI PARMA, the consortium includes members from Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

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Monster fatberg found in English seaside resort 08/01/2019

A 64-metre long fatberg has been found blocking a sewer in a popular Devon resort town.

The block of hardened fat, wet wipes and oil will take workers eight weeks to cut up and remove from the sewer beneath The Esplanade in Sidmouth.

South West Water (SWW) said the fatberg, which is the length of six double-decker buses, was the biggest it had found.

SWW is also planning to open a pop-up shop in the town to inform people about the unwanted visitor and to urge them not to “feed” fatbergs by pouring fat, oil, grease and wet-wipes into the system.

The firm's director of wastewater Andrew Roantree said he was thankful it was discovered "in good time" with "no risk" to the quality of sea bathing waters.

He added that the discovery of the fatberg "shows how this key environmental issue is not just facing the UK’s cities, but right here in our coastal towns". 

The chances of people's loos backing up as a result were "very unlikely", SWW said, because the fatberg, found in a large sewer near the seafront, was far from homes.

Fatbergs form when people put things such as fat, wet wipes, sanitary towels, nappies and condoms, down sinks and toilets.

The removal, which will be carried out by workers in full breathing apparatus, is due to start on 4 February.

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Street cleaner helps catch suspected supermarket shoplifter 02/01/2019

Eagle-eyed street cleaner Sean Wright has helped police catch a suspected shoplifter after a mini-crime drama in Birmingham on New Year’s Eve.

Sean, employed by Westside Business Improvement District (BID), had noticed a man parking a car and acting suspiciously on the corner of Granville Street and Broad Street just after 8.15am on Monday 31 December.

Minutes later, Sean witnessed the same man running out of Sainsburys Local supermarket at 10 Brindley Place carrying what was thought to have been boxes of chocolates, chased by staff who suspected him of shoplifting.

The suspect disappeared, but Sean was able to tell shop staff and police where the man’s car was parked, and when the same man returned to his car shortly afterwards he was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting.

Sean, a dad-of-five from West Bromwich, said: “The man had changed his clothes, but I recognised him straight away and was able to alert the police who arrested him.”

Asked what prompted his public-spirited action, 41-year-old Sean said: “Most people only see you as a cleaner, but while I might be sweeping streets I also keep my eyes open and know what’s going on.

“I keep observant because I think it’s important that anyone who works for Westside BID is prepared to protect the public and its members.”

Cherie Whyte, customer and trading manager at the Sainsburys Local branch, confirmed that there had been a series of shoplifting incidents that morning, mainly involving the theft of confectionery.

She said: “This was a fantastic reaction by Sean and we’re really grateful to him for helping police to catch the suspected shoplifter.

“Hopefully people will realise that the wardens and street cleaners in and around Broad Street are always keeping their eyes open and this might help dissuade them from shoplifting.”

Mike Olley, Westside BID manager, said: “We’re really proud of Sean for being prepared to go above and beyond his job role in helping the police and members of the BID.

“It’s typical of the team spirit we have here at Westside BID which is to always think of our member businesses, and to help them in any way we can.”

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said a 37-year-old man had been arrested, charged with theft from a shop and bailed to appear before Birmingham Magistrates Court on 28 January.

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Flying AI vacuum cleaner can dust your house for you 19/12/2018

A hovering vacuum cleaner powered by artificial intelligence was among the cutting-edge inventions at the University of Brighton’s Product Design showcase.

VacHumme, created by student Tom Harding, is an almost fully automated ‘dusting drone’. It operates via an AI mapping function and is designed to fly around a single room, cleaning every surface it can reach.

With every new journey around a room the VacHumme’s memory and knowledge of the space will grow stronger, meaning it is eventually able to tell whether furniture has been moved and adapt its route accordingly.

The only human intervention required is an occasional emptying of the vacuum chamber. The device has a wireless charging station.

The brief students were given for their showcase inventions was to “design a product which would help someone over the age of 30 who is living alone”.

Tom said: “From this brief I decided to create a product which would reduce the amount of work a single person has to do to keep their house in order."

Tom has ambitions to secure the funding that would enable him to complete a version of the device that could be sold to the public. “That is a long-term goal and something I might have to tinker with until I have the required funding,” he added.

The theme of the Product Design showcase was ‘single living’. Research from the Office for National Statistics that shows roughly 28% of households in the UK contain just one person, meaning the idea of the traditional home is changing. As a result, the products we use in the household are also in a state of flux.


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Roundtable debates to shed light on key cleaning challenges 14/01/2019

In 2019, Cleaning Matters will bring together some of the most respected thought leaders and pioneers in professional cleaning to discuss the industry's hottest topics in two roundtable debates.

Chaired by Cleaning Matters and filmed in a TV studio-environment, each debate will see the panel of experts discuss solutions to key cleaning and hygiene challenges, as well as comment on the latest technologies and innovations in the marketplace. 

The first roundtable debate will focus on 'The Future of Washroom Hygiene' and be filmed in May. Cleaning Matters is delighted to announce The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) as our first partner for this event.

Explaining its reasons for getting involved, the Institute said: "We hope by contributing to this topic we will raise awareness of the benefits of accredited training in washroom hygiene, including how this can reduce cases of cross-contamination for the wider professional cleaning industry. 

"We will also discuss the impact effective training has for the cleaning operative including increased productivity, morale and staff retention."

The second roundtable debate, entitled 'Protect your staff, premises and bottom line from norovirus', will be filmed in October. Cleaning Matters is delighted to announce that GOJO will be one of the partners at this event. The leading manufacturer of hand hygiene and skin care products will share its knowledge and expertise on how to prevent and control the spread of infections across a range of environments.

Videos of each roundtable debate will be available to view on www.cleaning-matters.com, as well as on partner websites. A full write-up of each roundtable debate will also appear in Cleaning Matters magazine.

If you would like to find out more or to get involved, please contact Kelly Daunt. Tel: 01342 333731 Email: kdaunt@western-bp.co.uk

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Faecal bacteria found in ice and drinks at leading pub chains 03/12/2018

Ice and soda water served at some of the UK’s leading food and drink chains are contaminated with faecal bacteria, an undercover investigation has found.

A team from the BBC’s Watchdog Live programme collected samples at 10 branches each of JD Wetherspoon, Harvester, Slug and Lettuce, Hungry Horse and Marston’s Two for One, making a total of 50 visits.

Very high levels of bacteria were discovered in either ice or soda at all five pub chains. Among the bacteria found were coliforms, including faecal coliforms, which are usually found in the gut and associated with faeces.

Tony Lewis, of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, who analysed Watchdog Live’s findings, suggests in the programme that bacteria in such high concentrations, and the presence of coliforms, could indicate failings in cleaning standards – and may even represent a potential risk to health, particularly for people with weakened immune systems.

He added that coliforms and faecal coliforms are likely to have come from human contact such as dirty hands. The other bacteria found can come from a number of sources, including growth in storage and dispensing systems.

The news comes almost 18 months after Watchdog Live found traces of faecal bacteria present in the ice at high street coffee shops including Starbucks, Caffè Nero and Costa.

All of the chains have responded to the investigation’s findings.

Slug & Lettuce said it was re-investigating the claims made by the programme, Hungry Horse said its dispensers had been deep cleaned, and staff at Two for One are being retrained. 

JD Wetherspoon said the company would “take on board the findings of the report”. Harvester said cleanliness and hygiene was of “critical importance” at their restaurants.

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BIFM relaunches as IWFM 29/11/2018

The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) has become the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM).

The institute was officially renamed on 12th November and is now working toward chartered body status. A new brand and a new website (https://www.iwfm.org.uk) were launched a week later.

Over the following weeks, the IWFM says that it will move across its key products and services to the IWFM brand.  

"We’ll take some time over this because we want to allow our partners and suppliers enough time to adjust, as well as ensure we spend money wisely; but during the transition period we’ll make sure we’re on hand to answer queries and help you find what you need," the institute said in a statement.  

Work has been going on behind the scenes to transition to IWFM since members voted for the name change at the AGM in July.

The IWFM added: "As well as developing new areas of interest and partnerships that will deliver improved member benefits and help the profession realise its value, we’re busy improving our systems and processes to help us to offer a more efficient service and a better experience to you as a customer."  

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'Flushable' wet wipes fail water industry tests 16/11/2018

All wet wipes sold as "flushable" in the UK have so far failed the water industry's disintegration tests, the BBC has found.

This means they do not break down sufficiently to allow them to be harmlessly flushed down the toilet. But because they disappear when they are flushed away, people assume they are safe in doing so.

In reality, water companies say they end up getting caught up in filters or contribute to giant, fatty buildups known as fatbergs which block sewage pipes.

Removing these blockages costs £100million a year, according to Water UK, the main water and sewer companies' trade body. 

Wet wipes are sold for everything from make-up removal to surface cleaning. Most importantly when it comes to flushability, they're available as moist toilet tissue.

BBC Radio 4's Costing The Earth looked into the issue and its investigation claims all wet wipes sold as "flushable" in the UK have so far failed the tests, which are conducted by scientists at WRC, a water-testing laboratory in Swindon.

Manufacturers insist their test is adequate and say sewer blockages are caused by people putting non-flushable wipes down the toilet.

Tony Griffiths, from United Utilities, told the BBC the situation was "extremely frustrating" and that the money being spent on fixing problems could be going towards reducing customer bills. 

There are some wipes that pass both tests, but none are currently being sold in the UK, according to WRC. 

Matt Wheeldon, a director at Wessex Water, is calling for a ban on wipes being labelled as "flushable", telling the BBC they were a "complete scourge on our society".

The government has said it is working with manufacturers and water companies to develop a product that can be safely flushed.

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Pattenmakers search for 2019 Young Manager in FM Award winner 01/11/2018

Livery company the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers has opened nominations for its annual Young Manager Award, and is looking to find a talented young facilities manager deserving of the training and development opportunities it provides.

The award is open to managers aged 21-32 working in the FM sector, who must be nominated by their employer. The deadline for submission of entries is 14 November, and shortlisted finalists must be available for interview on 23 November in London. 

Nomination forms and further information about the Young Manager Award are available from www.internationalworkplace.com/pattenmakers

The Pattenmakers is one of the historic Livery Companies of the City of London with its origins dating back to the 14th century. In recent years the Company has become the Livery home of the facilities management industry and of professionals from across the built environment sector in addition to its traditional membership from City institutions and the footwear industry.

The Young Manager Award enjoys industry-wide support, including from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), who said: “RICS is delighted to support the Pattenmakers’ Young Manager Award. RICS promotes the highest professional qualifications and standards and continuing professional development is core to our values. We hope that this award will enable and encourage the winner to reach their full potential in the facilities management profession.”  

The winner of the prestigious Pattenmaker Young Manager Award receives expert support to create a varied and bespoke personal development programme, including off-site courses and a programme of customised work placements designed to broaden their perspective. The training programme will be developed in full consultation with the winner’s line manager or employer. There is also a small financial bursary kindly donated by FM consultancy Glennister Associates.

The Award will be presented to the winner by the Lord Mayor of London at the Pattenmakers’ Annual Banquet held at the Mansion House in January 2019. The winner will also receive the Freedom of the Company, with the opportunity to apply for the Freedom of the City of London at a later stage.

This is an ideal opportunity to encourage the development of enthusiastic and deserving young people within the FM industry. Employers may nominate more than one young manager from their organisation. 


The judges are looking for a young manager who:

  • is enthusiastic about a career in FM or the built environment;
  • can demonstrate their commitment to their own personal development;
  • has potential for future promotion to a senior role;
  • has a high standard of professional ethics;
  • has or has had managerial responsibility (people, facilities or other resources);
  • can demonstrate initiative;
  • displays leadership behaviours inside and outside of the workplace;
  • is aged 21-32; and
  • has the support of their director (or equivalent).

Nominations should be made on the application form, together with a letter of support from the line manager who puts them forward. 

For further information about the Award please contact David Sharp on 07787 523138 or email david.sharp@internationalworkplace.com

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